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Internet can put dealers in a 'post-sales' role

A third of British car buyers think the web makes them less dependent on dealers at the pre-sale stage and gives them more control of their purchasing.

In a digital media company Specific Media survey half of the 1,009 respondents said the internet gives them a wider range of opinion, bringing them to the forecourt better-informed having done their own online research, casting dealers in a post-sales role.

Two-thirds of consumers now use the web to research vehicles before purchase with 38 per cent citing the experience as “interesting” and 32 per cent as “enjoyable”.

By placing control of information gathering into the hands of car buyers, the internet has become a major force in the purchasing process, with three-quarters of motorists citing the web as an important influence on their decision.

Despite the dominance of the internet in deciding which car to purchase, it has yet to challenge the forecourt when it comes to actual purchase behaviour.

The findings show that well over half of consumers still purchase from a main dealer and a fifth buy at other dealers and garages – this compared to just three per cent of cars that are bought through online auctions, sales sites and other web locations.

> Specific Media interviewed 1,009 UK driving license holders between July 11 - 15. The research compared a high-end and a mid-market manufacturer, and found that while 28 per cent of consumers searched for and engaged with the marketing of the high-end brand leading to 109,000 sales, 53 per cent searched for mid-market brands resulting in 280,000 sales

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