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Consumers use Websites to Conduct Automotive Research at Dealerships Up to the Point of Purchase

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 14 September 2015 — More than half (51%) of new-vehicle Internet shoppers use a mobile device—tablet or smartphone—to digitally conduct automotive research on the Internet to help them find the right vehicle, at the right dealer for the right price, according to the J.D. Power 2015 New Autoshopper StudySM released today.

The study analyzes how new-vehicle buyers use digital devices— tablets, smartphones and computers—to gather information prior to purchase, as well as which websites and apps they use during the shopping process. The study also examines what content new-vehicle buyers access during their shopping process and which content they find most useful.

For more information about the 2015 New Autoshopper Study visit http://www.jdpower.com/resource/jd-power-new-autoshopper-study

The proliferation of digital information accessible through mobile devices continues to change the way new vehicles are shopped for by consumers. Since 2012, the use of tablets for automotive shopping has increased by 83 percent and smartphone automotive shopping has increased by 70 percent. More than half (51%) of new-vehicle shoppers use a mobile device to gather automotive information prior to purchase. In particular, 34 percent of new-vehicle shoppers use a smartphone for automotive research and 33 percent use a tablet.

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“Outside of the home, the location where new-vehicle shoppers most frequently use their smartphone to conduct auto research prior to purchase is at a dealership,” said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media & marketing at J.D. Power. “Nearly half (48%) of new-vehicle buyers that shop on a mobile device use their smartphone and 13 percent use a tablet for information gathering while at the dealership primarily to access vehicle pricing as well as model information, inventory searches and special offers and incentives.”

The manner in which new-vehicle shoppers locate the actual vehicle they seek is also going digital. Nearly one-third (30%) of new-vehicle shoppers find the vehicle they purchase on either a manufacturer website, a third-party website or their dealer’s website.

In addition, new-vehicle shoppers are initially contacting their dealer digitally. While a majority of shoppers make their initial contact by simply walking into a dealership, nearly one-fourth (24%) do so digitally by email, the dealer website, request an online quote, text, online forum or Facebook.

More of these new-vehicle shoppers are entering the process with a specific make or model in mind. Nearly half (49%) of new-vehicle shoppers know either the exact make or model they initially want and purchase it. This has increased dramatically from 2013 when just 43 percent bought the exact make or model they had in mind. This shift translates into a decrease in the number of vehicles these digital shoppers consider when they first began visiting dealerships to an industry average of 2.4 vehicles in 2015 from 2.6 vehicles in 2013.

Top Websites Used for Automotive Shopping

  • More than 9 in 10 of new-vehicle Internet shoppers visit at least one manufacturer brand website when shopping for a vehicle. Site visitors find manufacturer brand websites to be most useful for their model information and vehicle configurators.
  • While 83 percent of new-vehicle Internet shoppers visit at least one dealership website, 75 percent visit their selling dealership’s website.
  • Eight in 10 new-vehicle Internet shoppers visit a third-party site for automotive information.
    • The three most frequently visited third-party sites have remained consistent since 2012 (listed in alphabetical order): Consumer Reports, Edmunds.com, and Kelley Blue Book.
    • Among the 35 third-party sites measured in the study, TrueCar has experienced the largest increase in site visitation.
    • Compared with other automotive sites, third-party sites are found to be especially useful for vehicle comparisons and vehicle ratings/reviews.

The 2015 New Autoshopper Study is based on responses from more than 18,900 purchasers and lessees of new 2013 to 2015 model-year vehicles who used information gathered digitally during the shopping process. The study was fielded between February 6, 2015, and July 7, 2015.

Media Relations Contacts

John Tews; Troy, Mich. 248-680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.com

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Media Contacts:

John Tews

Troy, Michigan

(248) 680-6218

media.relations@jdpa.com