Consumers Spend Less Time Shopping for Cars

By Ted Craig April 17, 2019 748

Car buyers are spending more time shopping online and less total time at the dealership.

That is the key finding of the 2019 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey study.

Car buyers spend an estimated 61 percent of active shopping time online, up from 57 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, the total in market fell to an average of 96 days, a drop of more than 20 days in the past two years.

Used-car buyers are spending the least time shopping, with 50 percent now spending 30 days or less in-market.

Most buyers would like to spend even less time shopping as they continue to find the process too difficult.

Only 39 percent of car buyers believe the process has improved since the last time they bought a car.

Despite the increased time spent shopping online, most other functions remain an in-person activity. Less than 10 percent of vehicle buyers report negotiating the final price of their new vehicle online. Only 5 percent filled out all the required paperwork.

However, consumers who negotiated online or completed paperwork online spent 45 minutes less time at the dealership and reported being more satisfied with the dealership experience. 

“While better online tools are helping people find the information they need, there is still more work that needs to be done to improve the car buying experience,” said Isabelle Helms, Cox Automotive’s vice president of research and market intelligence.

The number of dealerships visited in the car-buying process continues to drop.

On average, car buyers who purchased from a dealership visited 2.3 dealers. In 2017, the average buyer visited 2.7 dealership. Forty-three of used buyers visit only one dealership during the car-buying process.

Third-party online continue to be the most trusted sources for consumers.

Fifty-two percent of buyers indicate a third-party website was used to make the final decision on a vehicle brand. Dealer websites were cited 34 percent of the time.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 17 April 2019 15:25