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Study Says Internet Is Making Car Shopping More Efficient

Jul 18, 2013

According to the results of the 2013 Polk Automotive Buyer Influence Study, car buyers are spending less time shopping overall but are devoting more of their shopping time to the Internet. The study revealed that new car buyers who used the Internet in the shopping process reported spending 13.75 hours shopping for a vehicle, a decrease of 5.25 hours since 2011. Similarly, used car buyers who used the Internet during the shopping process spent 15.25 hours shopping, a decrease of 2.75 hours since 2011.Although consumers are spending less time shopping overall, they are spending a greater percentage of their shopping time online than they were in 2011. Two years ago, buyers spent about 60% of their shopping time online, but that percentage increased to 75% in 2013.These changes were likely driven by the improved quality and quantity of listings and greater use of mobile devices, in addition to a continually improving economy.The study also revealed that the role of traditional media in the shopping process has decreased notably. Though all forms of traditional media showed decreases in usage, the biggest declines in usage of traditional media during the shopping process for both new and used car buyers were seen in print newspapers, television and direct mail.Buyers who use the Internet are spending the most time on third-party sites, according to the study, so dealers and automakers should ensure they are marketing their brands, their dealerships and their inventory where the active car shoppers are going online.