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Exclusive: Manufacturers need to work harder to ensure seamless multi-device consumer car searches

Car brands risk losing car buyers in the ‘age of the connected digital device’ - and manufacturers should mirror the fluid behaviour of cars buyers according to new research.

The study, exploring the use of smartphones, tablets and PC laptops among in-market new and used car buyers in Britain, ‘Connected Digital Ethnography’, from Haymarket Media Group, designed to be the first to accurately show how consumers are impacted by everything from mobile advertising to manufacturer apps.

In the study, 70% of buyers used a combination of PC laptop, tablet and smartphone throughout the car-buying journey.

“At each stage of the buying process, from research to final purchase, buyers have a preferred role for each device and the way brands engage with buyers can have a dramatic impact on the final decision,” said Haymarket strategy and planning director, Neel Desor.
By deploying behavioural tracking software and qualitative analysis, the Haymarket study highlighted the fluidity of device use and the fact that consumers will break identified behavioural traits if it is not convenient to them.

A greater opportunity for apps as part of the customer journey was also highlighted. Consumers in the study used apps on their smartphones or tablets an average of 13 times during the buying journey. However, researchers found that these apps do not always engage buyers sufficiently, nor do they support their individual needs or desires.

“The appetite is there, but there are still gaps for brands to deliver the right tools, information and content,” said Desor.

“For example, evidence suggests that the route of stripped down apps is simply not working and, as a result, brands are losing customers on the journey.”

The average consumer is actively researching for only 11 days throughout the 80 days on average that it took for the new car buying journey to be completed.

At the same time, the study highlighted a shortage of connected experiences across all the devices used during the buying process. 

“The biggest challenge is how manufacturers continue to tackle the multi-device journey,” said Desor. “As we all know, the opportunities to engage with buyers are limited and, in order to ‘seal the deal’, brands need their digital experiences to mirror customer behaviour much better.”

Such consistency, said Desor, will help negate the disruption from one manufacturer to another – which is happening with ever greater regularity.

The car buyer's journey, off and online

For more information on the ‘Connected Digital Ethnography Report’, contact Neel Desor on 020 8267 5413 or

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  • Brian - 11/12/2014 19:02

    No problems with the fact that we can't spell then, an in-car dick will do just fine. Ooops, dictionary

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