Over Half of Gen Y Shoppers Who Use the Web are Open to Any Vehicle Brand

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Arianne Walker

One-half of all new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet in their shopping process (AIUs) are open to considering any vehicle brand at the beginning of their research experience. In addition, that percentage is even higher (54%) among Gen Y AIUs, according to our 2013 New Autoshopper Study.*

We see that close to one-half (47%) of Gen Y AIUs use smartphones in their shopping process—the most of any age demographic, which indicates how important it is for brands and websites to put these younger buyers into their marketing equations. The share of new-vehicle buyers in Gen Y is increasing at the greatest rate among all buyers and is projected to comprise 23% of all 2013 retail sales.

Automakers have a terrific opportunity to influence younger buyers during their shopping process, which averages about four months, particularly since they are quite open to considering different brands as they begin their new-vehicle research. In addition, the digital presence of the brand through mobile advertising and by providing content across mobile-accessible sites may be a great way to reach Gen Y buyers, since we see almost half that use a smartphone during the shopping process.

GenY-02Tablets Surpass Smartphones for Research among Automotive Internet Shoppers

Although AIUs continue to use a desktop/laptop computer to gather information while shopping, their use of tablets and smartphones has increased dramatically from a year ago. Smartphone usage has risen by 15% from last year and tablet usage is up 39% from the previous year. Shoppers are even less tied to a desk, but can do their research from a couch at home while watching TV or using a laptop, or while sitting with friends in a café.

This year, for the first time, the percentage of AIUs using tablets has surpassed those using smartphones (25% vs. 23%, respectively). More than one-third (34%) of AIUs perform research using multiple devices, including desktop/laptops, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles.

A few more study highlights are summarized:

• The study finds that nearly all (98%) of AIUs visit manufacturer sites during their shopping process, followed by dealer sites (83%); third-party sites (80%); and social media sites (7%).

• AIUs more frequently indicate that third-party (54%) and manufacturer (52%) websites are very helpful during the new-vehicle shopping process vs. dealer and social media sites or automotive apps.

• The study finds that Consumer Reports, Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) are among the most visited third-party websites.

• AIUs visit the three mentioned sites more often than the other 33 third-party websites measured in the study.

Tablet-01• AIUs indicate that model pricing information, vehicle ratings and reviews, and vehicle comparison information is among the most useful third-party website content.

• On average, AIUs access 10 automotive websites before purchasing a vehicle (including third-party, dealer and manufacturer sites).

• Only 19% of AIUs access dealer ratings/reviews prior to purchase.

For the past three years, a majority (79%) of new-vehicle buyers have used the Internet to conduct research during the shopping process. Since these AIUs rely heavily on manufacturer and third-party websites, it’s vital for these sites to further differentiate themselves by offering engaging content and by creating useful shopping tools that target new-vehicle buyers at each stage of the shopping process. It’s also extremely important to capture the attention of Gen Y consumers as they are even more open at the start of the shopping process than are other generations of car buyers. Arianne Walker, senior director, automotive media & marketing at J.D. Power

*The 2013 New Autoshopper Study analyzes how new-vehicle buyers use digital devices (computers, smartphones and tablets) to gather information prior to purchase, as well as which websites and apps are used. The study is based on responses from 17,012 purchasers and lessees of 2011 to 2013 model-year new vehicles who used information gathered digitally during the shopping process.


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