The internet is ‘an indispensable marketing tool for dealers and OEMs’ says Polk, and has become a key information source for consumers during the vehicle shopping process, which is why online presence is a necessity for dealers.
The study contains findings from 2,739 consumers who purchased a new or used vehicle during the past 12 months and incorporates both telephone and web-based surveys to gain an insight into the influence and evolution of the internet during the shopping process.
According to Polk, the research suggests the internet continues to evolve for both dealers and their customers, because while buyers are able to research and buy online, dealers are generating leads with online devices.
Results show that even more buyers rely on the web when looking for a car, as three-quarters of all shoppers use the internet to research and buy vehicles, up from 71 per cent in 2011. Data also shows usage went up significantly among luxury and domestic buyers.
Polk says: ‘The industry needs to pay special attention to the importance of online media to the Millennial generation, who will be buying vehicles for years to come.
‘Nine out of 10 consumers aged 18 to 34 consider the web integral to the vehicle research and purchase process. In addition, Millennials are more likely to spend time on smartphones and tablets researching their purchase.’