Report: Majority Of Car Buyers Showrooming On Dealer Lots

smartphones-featuredShowrooming has come to the automotive industry. Would-be car buyers have long used the PC internet for research during the purchase process; however a new study says that retail-style showrooming is now happening on car dealer lots. The data were collected in October and November 2013.

According to a new study commissioned by Cars.com and conducted by location analytics provider Placed, “63% of auto shoppers researched and shopped online while at a dealership using their mobile device.” Most of what these auto-showroomers are doing on the lot involves price research. However they’re also looking at reviews (of both cars and dealers), as well as checking inventory at nearby dealerships.

Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 4.09.13 PM

Source: Cars.com-Placed (2014)

Another finding of the research is that auto-showroomers are more inclined to visit additional dealers and thus less likely to be “closed” by dealer salespeople than in the pre-smartphone era. The study found that 62 percent of auto-showroomers visited additional dealer lots within a 24 hour period. That’s compared with only 36 percent of those not using mobile devices on the lot.

The study also reported that just over half (52 percent) of auto-showroomers were motivated to visit other dealer lots based on information discovered on their smartphones in real time. Advertising also played a role in luring these car buyers (the 52 percent) to other dealers: 33 were drawn to competing dealerships based on ads they saw on their smartphones.

auto-showrooming 2

Source: Cars.com-Placed (2014)

The Cars.com-Placed study found that roughly 80 percent of car buyers conducted online research prior to a dealer visit, and 37 percent said they used multiple devices to do so. Smartphones were the most commonly used device (59 percent) followed by PCs/laptops (48 percent). Only 15 percent reported using a “PC only” to conduct research.

The clear message of the research is that dealers and carmakers need a cross-platform strategy today to reach the car buying public. If automotive and dealer sites aren’t mobile optimized and marketers aren’t doing mobile advertising they’re going to miss a huge part of the buying public.

Screen Shot 2014-01-26 at 4.10.20 PM

Source: Cars.com-Placed (2014)

There are many additional, interesting findings in the study that carry marketing and advertising implications. There’s also advice for dealers about how to handle these auto-showroomers on the lot. You can download the full report (after registration) here.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile Marketing | Mobile Marketing

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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