Role of traditional media in auto sales process drops as consumers spend more time online

Role of traditional media in auto sales process drops as consumers spend more time online

The amount of time consumers spend shopping for a car has decreased dramatically in the past two years, but the percentage of that time spent online has risen substantially. Thats the conclusion of a new study commissioned by and done by R.L. Polk.

First conducted in 2011 and again in 2013, the study showed that buyers who used the Internet spent 13.75 hours shopping for a new vehicle, down 5.25 hours since 2011. Used car buyers who used the Internet spent 15.25 hours shopping, down 2.75 hours.

Consumers are now spending a greater proportion of their shopping time online. Internet shopping rose from 60 percent of shopping time to 75 percent. The change was likely caused by improved listings, better online merchandising, greater use of mobile devices and a recovering economy, says AutoTrader. The study also found that the role of traditional media in the shopping process has decreased notably. For new car buyers, the use of TV in shopping dropped from 34 percent to 22 percent. Print newspapers and direct mail saw smaller declines. Used-car shoppers saw similar decreases.

We know from the study that buyers who use the Internet are spending the most time on third-party sites, so dealers and automakers should ensure they are marketing their brands, their dealerships and their inventory where the active car shoppers are going online, says Kevin Filan, AutoTraders vice president of customer relations and industry relations.

Among Internet users, 62 percent of used car buyers and 47 percent of new car buyers said the Internet was the primary source that led them to the dealership where they bought a car.

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