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2018 U.S. Automotive Website Evaluation Study Cross-Device: Smartphones Come Out Ahead in Satisfaction Among Online Vehicle Shoppers

2018 U.S. Automotive Website Evaluation Study Cross-Device: Smartphones Come Out Ahead in Satisfaction Among Online Vehicle Shoppers

By Joseph Dobrian, April 03, 2018
Customers are finding the experience of visiting third-party automotive websites via smartphone more rewarding overall. The smartphone experience is scoring higher in total satisfaction than the desktop experience, according to the J.D. Power 2018 U.S.  Automotive Website Evaluation Study Cross-Device.SM The study concurrently evaluates automotive third-party websites from those two perspectives—desktop and smartphone—in terms of overall site function and the importance of various site features to online shoppers. This study examines which of a website’s functions and designs are most effective in helping shoppers narrow their consideration set, and which ones increase the likelihood that they will recommend and return to the website.

Desktop and smartphone rankings (separately awarded) are based on the combined index scores of the four measures that comprise the overall website experience: navigation; appearance; information/content; and speed. Satisfaction is based on a 1,000-point scale.

“Five years ago, we would have been amazed to see higher satisfaction for vehicle research and shopping on a five-inch screen,” said Amit Aggarwal, Senior Director, Digital Practice Lead at J.D. Power. “Year over year, smartphone users are visiting more content areas to configure vehicles, compare vehicles, search for inventory, view technical specifications and more.”
 
Autotrader Ranks Highest
Autotrader ranks highest in overall satisfaction with automotive third-party desktop websites, with a score of 789. TrueCar (782) ranks second, and Cars.com (778) ranks third.
 
Kelley Blue Book ranks highest in overall satisfaction with automotive third-party smartphone websites, with a score of 809. Edmunds.com (807) ranks second and Carfax (804) ranks third.

Based on the study, J.D. Power offers the following tips:
  • Take advantage of the full range of services and options the website might offer, including comprehensive vehicle viewing information, plus intuitive dealer locator and inventory search tools.
  • Look for websites that include both new and used cars in their inventories, and allow you to initiate the buying process.
  • Look for vehicle reviews on the website—from consumers, experts, and dealers.


The 2018 Automotive Website Evaluation Study Cross-Device is based on responses from 4,392 evaluations of automotive manufacturer websites by new- and used-vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a vehicle within the next 24 months, with 2,130 being desktop evaluations and 2,262 being smartphone evaluations. The study was fielded in January 2018.

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