The use of the internet to research and purchase car-related products is booming, according to the latest survey from industry analyst Datamonitor.
The Impact 2001 survey shows that 40% of European consumers use the internet to research or buy a car or other automotive product such as finance or insurance, compared to 24% for healthcare products and 16% for utilities.
Datamonitor predicts that online car related purchases could rise by up to 141% over the next 12 months, impressing upon dealers the potential of the internet as an alternative sales channel.
Laurence Stock, Datamonitor automotive analyst, said: “Until now the primary use of the internet has been to conduct research and collect information. However, the strong following that the internet has created for finding out more about cars will lead to increased online sales in the future.”
The survey identified five distinct online consumer groups. 'Resistors' do not use the internet at all, while 'agnostics' have access but do not use the internet to browse for products.
'Phantoms', who browse for products online, make the final purchase offline and 'moderates' make purchases online but are low spending. The biggest online spenders are the 'internet globe trotters'.
Most UK internet motorists are phantoms, but Datamonitor believes many will become internet globe trotters as online car retailers become more sophisticated and consumer confidence grows.