Over recent years, car shoppers’ increased attraction to research vehicles via a mobile device represented a noticeable shift within the industry, says Libby Murad-Patel, who is marketing and strategic insights vice president at Jumpstart Automotive Media.
In March, Murad-Patel and her team released Jumpstart’s Insights Book; A Collection of Consumer Insights Illustrating Today’s Auto Shopping Paths — its seventh annual comprehensive report detailing the research behavior of car shoppers, as well as U.S. car shopping trends.
Jumpstart's latest year-long analysis examined the shopping patterns of visitors to its portfolio of automotive websites, which represent more than 25 million in-market shoppers.
“From our audience perspective, the biggest shift that we've seen this year is that we’re getting a much more mobile heavy audience,” Murad-Patel said during a phone interview with Auto Remarketing.
She said with the mobile-heavy audience, much of the traffic brought to Jumpstart’s portfolio sites comes in directly from a search.
“What we often find is that we’re getting a lot of shoppers who are already in their consideration set and coming in through direct keyword searches, so that is driving them to our sites in a more organic fashion," added Murad-Patel.
Shoppers visiting Jumpstart’s sites exclusively from a desktop has dropped 24 percent from 2015, according to the report.
This trend implies that many car shoppers who begin their initial research for a purchase on a desktop will likely do some additional browsing from a mobile device as well.
Last year, Jumpstart said its desktop audience totaled just 37 percent, while its smartphone and tablet audience was 56 percent and 7 percent, respectively.
Additionally, when shoppers do research on their phone they are more likely to have a better idea of what they are looking for, according to Murad-Patel.
“What we often find is that we are getting a lot of shoppers who are already in their consideration set and coming in through direct keyword searches so that is driving them to our sites in a more organic fashion,” she said.
Interestingly, mobile brings more shoppers to vehicle detail pages than search.
“We’re finding that our audience is really accessing vehicle detail pages,” Murad-Patel said.
According to her assessment, 60 percent of traffic to vehicles details pages comes in through organic search, and mobile accounts for 67 to 68 percent of traffic.
“Because shoppers are actively doing their research in a more mobile fashion, they’re already into some sort of a narrow consideration set,” she said. “Having a more narrow consideration set before they even start their shopping activity is getting them to vehicle details pages faster because they’re not doing as much upper funnel research."
Even at the dealership, car shoppers have their mobile device in hand. Four in 10 shoppers use a mobile device at a dealership, and that number increases to two-thirds for millennials, and 83 percent for millennial men in particular, according to the report.
“Automotive websites have gotten a lot better with navigating the consumer to the information they need in a more efficient manner," Murad-Patel added. "They’re not having to spend as much time or as many clicks — going through one content area to another to get the information they’re looking for.”