Press Release

New-Vehicle Buyers Who Spend the Most Time Shopping Online Also Visit the Most Dealerships

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 9 September 2014 — New-vehicle buyers who spend the most time on the Internet shopping for a vehicle also visit the most dealerships to shop prior to purchase, according to the J.D. Power 2014 New Autoshopper StudySM released today.

“There may be a notion in the marketplace that the more auto shoppers use the Internet to determine which vehicle to buy, the fewer dealers they are inclined to shop, yet we see just the opposite” said Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media & marketing at J.D. Power. “New-vehicle buyers who do a great deal of automotive Internet shopping also go to more dealerships to shop.”

The study analyzes how new-vehicle buyers use digital devices (computers, smartphones and tablets) to gather information prior to purchase, as well as which websites and apps they use during the shopping process. The study refers to new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet during their shopping process as automotive Internet users (AIUs).

AIUs spend on average nearly 14 hours on the Internet shopping for vehicles prior to purchase. AIUs who spend the most time shopping on the Internet (12 hours or more) visit more dealers (3.3) to shop prior to purchase than those who spend either a moderate (5 to 11 hours) or minimal (1 to 4 hours) amount of time on the Internet (2.5 and 2.0 dealers, respectively).

More than one-third (34%) of AIUs use either a smartphone or tablet while shopping at a dealership, up from 29 percent in 2013. Vehicle pricing is the most frequently accessed content while at a dealership (61%), followed by model information (42%), searching inventory (40%) and special offers/incentives (36%). Furthermore, the study shows that among AIUs who use these mobile devices to access vehicle pricing information at their dealership of purchase, 84 percent leverage this pricing information in the negotiation process and 73 percent perceive having obtained a better deal as a result.

According to Walker, “The phenomenon of ‘showrooming’ at new vehicle dealerships, where potential buyers use their mobile devices to verify information and price shop while at the dealership, will continue to grow. Shoppers are gathering information digitally up to moment the deal is signed, which underscores the need for ensuring mobile websites and apps have up-to-date and accurate information. Dealers need to    accept and embrace this practice as the new status quo and provide complete transparency with price, value and product offering in order to build trust with these savvy new-vehicle shoppers. If not, dealers could lose these customers to the competition.”


  • Devices Used for Automotive Shopping
    • The majority (96%) of AIUs use their desktop/laptop computer for automotive research.
    • Nearly one-third (28%) of AIUs use a smartphone to conduct automotive research in 2014, up from 23 percent in 2013; and 30 percent use a tablet device, up from 25 percent year over year.
    • Forty-one percent of AIUs use multiple devices during the new-vehicle shopping process, which is an increase from 34 percent in 2013.
  • Types of Websites Used for Automotive Shopping
    • A majority of AIUs 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, vehicle configurators and photo galleries.
    • Nearly 80 percent of AIUs visit a third-party site to obtain automotive information. In 2014, the most frequently visited third-party sites are consistent with the 2013 study results: (listed in alphabetical order) Car and Driver,, Consumer Reports, and Kelley Blue Book. 
    • Users of third-party sites indicate vehicle pricing and vehicle ratings and reviews are the most useful information listed on the sites.

The 2014 New Autoshopper Study is based on responses from more than 15,300 purchasers and lessees of new 2012 to 2014 model-year vehicles who used information gathered digitally during the shopping process. The study was fielded between February 25, 2014 and July 9, 2014.

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