TORONTO: 11 May 2016 — Automotive manufacturers face the daunting task of providing an easy-to-use, content-rich website that meets the needs of both desktop and mobile users, without sacrificing speed, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Canadian Manufacturer Website Evaluation StudySM (MWES), released today.
The study measures the usefulness of automotive websites and how each brand compares/performs during the new-vehicle shopping process by examining four key measures (in order of importance): information/content (34%), appearance (24%), navigation (22%) and speed (21%). Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.
The website experience helps automakers attract customers to dealerships. Among new-vehicle shoppers who are delighted with their experience on a manufacturer brand website (overall satisfaction scores of 901 or higher), 63% indicate they are more likely to test drive a vehicle after visiting the site, compared with only 21% of those who say they are “disappointed” (satisfaction scores of 500 or below).
Providing a positive website experience is growing increasingly more complicated as the percentage of vehicle shoppers using mobile devices to access manufacturer websites increases to 46% in 2015 from 41% in 2014. Mobile devices users find the website experience less satisfying than do desktop shoppers overall (735 vs. 759, respectively) and in each key measure, with the largest gaps found in navigation (720 vs. 752) and speed (734 vs. 764).
Furthermore, shoppers have different expectations for their website experience and explore different content when on a mobile device than when on a desktop computer. While information/content is most important to shoppers regardless of how they access a site, speed is more important to mobile users than desktop users, while navigation and appearance are more important to desktop users than mobile users.
“It’s a fine balance between providing the critical information that shoppers want while maintaining speed and usability of the site, which is a particular challenge with mobile” said J.D. Ney, manager, automotive practice Canada at J.D. Power. “Having an effective website is critical for brands to help attract and maintain customers in a very competitive Canadian market.”
Shoppers with the fastest download speed experience the highest rate of speed-related issues (47%). Across all connection speeds, there is a significant impact on speed satisfaction when a slowdown is encountered, with a nearly 100-point drop in satisfaction, compared with when there is not a speed-related problem.
The combination of navigation and speed issues can be extremely detrimental to the shopping experience. There is 221-point gap in satisfaction between shoppers who experience no speed or navigation issues (825) and those who experience two or more navigation issues or speed issues (604).
“There is a correlation between speed and navigation, as automaker websites tend to perform similarly in speed and navigation site satisfaction,” said Ney. “Websites that achieve high satisfaction scores in speed generally also achieve high scores in navigation. Of course, the flip side is also true: low navigation satisfaction scores also tend to correlate with low satisfaction in the speed measure.”
Lexus and Lincoln rank highest overall in a tie, each with a score of 782. Cadillac ranks third (781), followed by Infiniti (779) and Jeep (775).
The J.D. Power 2016 Canadian Manufacturer Website Evaluation StudySM (MWES) is based on responses from 3,380 new-vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months. The study was fielded from February 10, 2016,through March 7, 2016.
For more information about the 2016 Canadian Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study,visit http://canada.jdpower.com/resource/canadian-manufacturer-website-evaluation-study.
See the online press release at http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2016-canadian-manufacturer-website-evaluation-study
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 Source: J.D. Power Canadian Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM.