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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : May 18, 2017

'Massive shift' in traditional consumer car buying journey

In just ten years, the way in which consumers approach the research and purchase of a new vehicle has changed dramatically. New research reveals the role of mobile in automotive sales.

by Helen Leggatt

The annual Cap Gemini 'Cars Online' survey first asked the question "are you likely to buy a car online?" ten year ago. At that time, 18% of respondents said they would be likely. The same question was asked in Cap Gemini's 2016 survey, and three-quarters of respondents in the U.S., China, and Germany said they were likely to purchase a car online.

The 2016 report said that "it is clear that there is a huge untapped interest in a radically different kind of car sales and thus new business models. Responding to this appetite will be a crucial part of the customer offer within a short period of time".

However, it seems consumers are moving beyond the Internet when purchasing a new vehicle. New research from Sophus3, an automotive digital marketing firm, reveals that the device of choice is the mobile phone. The use of mobile for car purchases in the UK continues to grow at a significant rate and now represents 59% of all visits to car brand sites.

Consumers can take a virtual tour of the online showroom and even take virtual test drives as the industry continues to adapt to the demands of the customer base. BMW, Hyundai and Peugeot have all launched 'digital stores' which come close to allowing the consumer to complete the entire transaction online, while dealers like Vertu offer their customers the facility to conduct most of the purchase online.

"Just a decade ago, the average new car buyer visited six dealers before buying their car. This has now dropped to less than two visits. At the same time, the proportion of visitors who use the Internet as their primary pre-purchase research channel has risen to above 90%, which is a massive shift away from the traditional consumer journey of yesterday," said Marcus Hodginson, Chairman, Sophus3. "The majority of these web visits take place via a mobile device. As a result, by the time the car buyer visits the showroom they often know more about the car they want to buy than the salesperson selling it!"

Tags: automotive, consumer behavior, mobile

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