Mobile Devices Have Changed the Way People Shop For Cars

Family with keys of new carIf you’re looking at new cars online, then there’s a 50-50 chance that you’ve looked a few things up on your smartphone or tablet. According to a new J.D. Power 2015 New Autoshopper Study, more than half of all new vehicle shoppers looking online are using a mobile device to research before buying.

Based on a survey of 18,900 buyers and lessees of new vehicles who used the Internet for research, the report found that 51% of participants said they’d used a smartphone or tablet to help them find a make, model, price, and dealership that suited their needs.

These findings should come as no surprise. Almost 28% of all web traffic nowadays come from mobile users; about 79% of mobile owners have used their device for shopping-related activities; and 94% of respondents in a recent survey said they used their mobile phones to find local businesses. Given these trends, it’s only natural that car shoppers would also do research via their devices.

And thanks to how easy mobile devices have made car research, 49% of online, new vehicle shoppers already know the make and model of the vehicle they want before they even set foot into a dealership.

What is most interesting, though, is that it seems these shoppers aren’t idly looking around. When outside of their homes, they’re using their mobile devices to compare makes, models, prices, and competitors when they’re out at auto dealerships looking at vehicles.

“Nearly half (48 percent) of new-vehicle buyers that shop on a mobile device use their smartphone and 13 percent use a tablet for information gathering while at the dealership, primarily to access vehicle pricing as well as model information, inventory searches and special offers and incentives,” said J.D. Power’s senior director of automotive media and marketing Arianne Walker in a statement.

These shoppers aren’t going to the dealership cold, either, as many of them are making initial contact digitally. The study found that 24% of survey respondents reported making first contact via email, text, Facebook, or the dealership’s website.

So if you’re in the market for a new car or truck, see what the fuss is about, and consider doing some market research on your smartphone.

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