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Smartphones, Tablets Increasingly Used by New-Vehicle Buyers for Research Before and During Negotiations

Smartphones, Tablets Increasingly Used by New-Vehicle Buyers for Research Before and During Negotiations

By Jeff Youngs, September 09, 2014

According to the J.D. Power 2014 New Autoshopper Study,SM nearly all new-vehicle buyers who research vehicles online use a desktop computer during the shopping process, but the use of smartphones and tablet computers is on the rise. In 2014, 41% of survey respondents indicate using more than one device to conduct new-vehicle research, up from 34% in 2013.

Furthermore, 34% of new-vehicle buyers engage in a phenomenon known as "showrooming," using a smartphone or tablet computer to access vehicle pricing, model information, model inventory, and special offer and incentives data while they are at the dealership. Among buyers who indicate they accessed pricing data at the dealership, 84% use this information during purchase negotiations and 73% perceive they got a better deal as a result.

"Shoppers are gathering information digitally up to the moment the deal is signed, which underscores the need for ensuring mobile websites and apps have up-to-date and accurate information," said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media & marketing at J.D. Power. "Dealers need to accept and embrace this practice as the new status quo and provide complete transparency with price, value, and product offering in order to build trust with these savvy new-vehicle shoppers. If not, dealers could lose these customers to the competition."

Notably, the 2014 New Autoshopper Study finds that new-vehicle buyers who spend the most time shopping on the Internet also visit a greater number of dealerships prior to purchase. Automotive Internet Users, or AIUs, who purchase a new vehicle spend an average of 14 hours shopping for various vehicles prior to making their purchase. Those spending more than 12 hours researching vehicles visit an average of 3.3 dealerships, while those spending fewer than 4 hours visit an average of 2 dealerships.

"There may be a notion in the marketplace that the more auto shoppers use the Internet to determine which vehicle to buy, the fewer dealers they are inclined to shop, yet we see just the opposite" said Walker. "New-vehicle buyers who do a great deal of automotive Internet shopping also go to more dealerships to shop."

During the research and shopping process, most AIUs visit at least one manufacturer brand website while researching, and find them most useful for model information, vehicle configuration, and photo galleries. Additionally, nearly 80% of AIUs visit a third-party website while researching, and find them most useful for pricing, ratings, and reviews.

Additional Research:

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