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2015 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study Results

2015 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study Results

By Jeff Youngs, March 31, 2015

Vehicle shoppers who are highly satisfied with their shopping experience on an automotive third-party website are 10 times more likely to request information from a dealership than those who have a poor shopping experience at that website, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study.SM

The study, now in its third year, measures the usefulness of automotive third-party websites during the new- and used-vehicle shopping process by examining four key measures (in order of importance): information/content; appearance; navigation; and speed. Satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale.

Among vehicle shoppers who are highly satisfied (scores of 901-1,000) with their shopping experience, 52% say they "definitely will" request more information from a dealership about the vehicle, compared with just 5% of those who have a less satisfying experience (scores of 0-500). Slightly more than one-fourth (27%) of new-vehicle shoppers say they "definitely will" request information from a dealership, while 14% of used-vehicle shoppers say the same.

"When shopping online, a positive automotive third-party website experience can influence shoppers' inclination to reach out directly to a dealer to request information about the vehicle they are researching," said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media & marketing at J.D. Power. "Both dealers and brands benefit by connecting shoppers to the ultimate point of purchase."

Shoppers Look for Price, Prefer Email Contact
The study finds that, overall, 79% of auto shoppers are looking for vehicle pricing when searching a third-party automotive website's inventory. Used-vehicle shoppers are more interested in price, compared with new-vehicle shoppers (84% vs. 75%, respectively). A two-thirds majority (67%) of vehicle shoppers prefer to be contacted by a dealership via email, followed by phone (18%) and regular mail (5%).

When submitting a quote request to a dealership, Gen Y shoppers (born 1977-1994) are more willing to share personal information than those in the Boomer generation (1946-1964). Overall, the types of personal information vehicle shoppers are least willing to share include credit score, household income range, birth date, and mobile phone number.

NADAguides Ranks Highest
In 2015, overall satisfaction with automotive third-party websites averages 746. NADAguides ranks highest (768), followed by (763) and The Car Connection (760).

Consumer Tips
Based on the study, J.D. Power offers the following consumer tips:
  • When shopping for a vehicle, visit several third-party automotive sites as shoppers typically find different sites more or less helpful and user-friendly, depending on their specific preferences and needs.
  • Research third-party automotive sites prior to visiting them to collect information on their strong and weak points, relative to your needs.
  • Provide feedback to these websites that could make them more helpful to other visitors.

About the Study
The 2015 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study is based on evaluations from more than 5,000 new- and used-vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a vehicle within the next 24 months. The study was fielded in January 2015.

Websites evaluated in the study met the following criteria: each had to be an automotive third-party site; have the ability for consumers to shop for both new and used vehicles; and be among the most frequently visited sites based on behavioral data.

Additional Research:

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