2014 Automotive Mobile Site Study Results
By Jeff Youngs,
Providing a positive shopping experience for customers looking for vehicle information on their smartphones is becoming more important to both automaker (OEM) and third-party automotive websites, according to the just-published J.D. Power 2014 Automotive Mobile Site Study.SM
"When vehicle shoppers have a positive experience on an OEM or third-party site, they are more likely to share the content they find useful or interesting with others," said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media & marketing at J.D. Power. "This provides auto brands a great opportunity to get their content out in front of consumers through social media. The challenge is not only having great content to encourage sharing, but also ensuring that consumers have an outstanding experience no matter what site they are accessing on their smartphone."
The study, now in its third year, has been redesigned to capture details on content and tool usage while measuring what content is most effective on OEM and third-party automotive websites, specifically to smartphone users, during the vehicle-shopping process. The study examines website usefulness across four key measures (in order of importance): information/content, navigation, appearance, and speed. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.
According to the study, 33% of shoppers say they "definitely will" share vehicle information via social media after an exceptional experience (i.e. overall satisfaction scores of between 901 and 1,000 points), compared with only 3% of shoppers who "definitely will" share that information after a poor experience (scores of 500 and lower). Among shoppers using an OEM or third-party automotive website, 45% say they either "probably will" or "definitely will" share information via social media about a vehicle they researched.
Videos, Images Talk
One of the key findings from this year's study is that shoppers who share vehicle information on social media are more likely to share imagery, such as exterior images (48%), interior images (42%), and videos (40%) than they are to share other less visual content, such as payment/lease (18%) or dealer information (25%). Further, the use of videos, plus interior and exterior 360° tools, has a significant positive impact on satisfaction among smartphone shoppers when researching how a vehicle looks on both OEM and third-party websites.
Other highlights from the study include:
- Shoppers who access an OEM website on a smartphone are much more likely to use a build and price tool (43%) than those who shop on third-party sites (30%). However, vehicle shoppers accessing a third-party website on a smartphone are more likely to use an inventory search tool (36%) than those on an OEM site (32%).
- The largest gap (90 points) in satisfaction between OEM (806) and third-party sites (716) is in appearance of the website.
Acura Ranks Highest Among Automaker Mobile Websites
Among OEM mobile websites, Acura ranks highest in overall shopper satisfaction with a score of 811. Following Acura in the rankings are Cadillac (803), Porsche (802), and Chrysler (801). Among third-party automotive sites, U.S. News Best Cars ranks highest (771), followed by Cars.com (749), Kelley Blue Book (728) and Edmunds.com (726).
Based on the study, J.D. Power offers the following consumer tips:
- Use build and price tools to compare the features that are available on competing makes, and to compare price.
- Bring your smartphone along when you visit a dealership so you can immediately compare what that dealer is offering with other possibilities.
- Use your smartphone to share information with friends and to ask for their impressions of cars they've bought or looked at.
About the Study
The 2014 Automotive Mobile Site Study examines the features and content of automotive manufacturer and third-party mobile websites and their usefulness in the vehicle-shopping process. The study includes 11,451 evaluations of automotive mobile websites from vehicle shoppers who intend to purchase or lease a vehicle within the next two years. The study was fielded in July and August 2014.
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