More than a third of used-car buyers said in a recent survey by DMEautomotive that they visited just one dealership before purchasing their respective cars.
Meanwhile, 20 percent of used buyers stopped by two stores, 19 percent visited three and 5 percent didn’t visit any store, according to the study results released Tuesday. Seven percent went to four stores, 4 percent visited five and 8 percent stopped in six or more dealerships.
Put another way, 62 percent of used buyers visited two or fewer dealerships before buying.
And when including the new-car data set as well, DMEa’s data found that 68 percent of buyers visited two stores or fewer. And 40 percent went to just one dealer.
The study also took a look at how many buyers took test drives. Here’s what they found, specifically, about used-car purchasers.
“Conventional wisdom is that used-car buyers at dealerships take significantly more test-drives (as each vehicle is unique), but the DMEa study reveals that is not the case: 30 percent of used buyers test-drove only one vehicle (versus 35 percent of new buyers) —and a greater percentage of used buyers (18 percent) than new (14 percent) reported taking no test-drives,” the company said in its analysis.
Mary Sheridan — DMEa’s manager of research and analytics — discussed the overall results in more detail.
“This avoidance of physical dealerships is in stark contrast with how much online vehicle research is happening: four in five people now use the Internet for car buying, visiting 10 auto websites in the process,” she said, citing the 2013 New Autoshopper.com Study from J.D. Power and Associates.
“More people are stealthily comparison-shopping dealerships and inventory online, and then swooping in to buy when their minds are already made up,” Sheridan continued.
“Dealerships can no longer rely on in-store visits and the old ‘be-backs’ to drive sales: they need to have the most powerful online presence wherever dealer/vehicle selection is happening, and work far harder to keep customers close throughout the ownership cycle, using every retention marketing tool possible, like a constant-connection mobile app,” she added.