New car buyers ‘still want dealer advice despite online research’

Time 12:47 pm, March 30, 2016

MOST new car buyers still want advice from dealers, despite carrying out online research beforehand, according to a new survey.

Automotive research, vehicle comparison and pricing website asked 1,000 people about their online research and car buying habits, and it revealed that 40 per cent of consumers spent more than four months researching their new car purchase, with 60 per cent devoting more than eight hours in all.

The survey in full as an infographic. (Click on the image to expand it.)

The survey in full as an infographic. (Click on the image to expand it.)

It found that 97 per cent of new car buyers go to dealerships having researched online into what they want, but despite that, more than two-thirds (69 per cent) still ask the dealer for advice and are happy to deviate from their research when choosing their final car or options.

Independent, professional reviews (63 per cent), editorial reviews (50 per cent) and branded content (37 per cent) were listed as the content that most influenced consumers’ buying decisions.

Despite the research finding that visiting dealerships was a vital part of the new car buying process, the overall pricing offer and deal provided by the dealer was listed as most appealing to buyers, although 62 per cent would prefer to visit a dealership within 50 miles of their house if possible. The results also showed that customers continue research while at the dealership.

Chris Smith, head at, said: ‘The wealth of online information means that car buyers are arriving at dealerships much more informed about what their requirements are. Dealers are able to use this period of online research, which we know typically spans over four months, to begin a conversation with the customer and widen their window of opportunity to sell.

‘Digitally-aware dealers who provide offers to customers while they are in the midst of research and use online researching habits as part of their sell in-store will find that they can maintain excellent customer service while keeping sales conversions high.’

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John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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