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Research reveals majority of new car buyers visit three or more showrooms


Research into consumers’ new car buying habits reveals that most will visit three or more dealerships before making a purchase.

The industry regularly cites figures from Google that suggested dealer visits had fallen from an average 2.2 visits in 2012 to 1.7 in 2015.

And separate research by Auto Trader in 2015 said the figure was 2.2 dealerships.

But, according to consumer research by a third of consumers visit three dealerships and nearly the same number (33.4%), four or more. The total percentage of those visiting at least three is 67%.

It also looked at two age groups: 54 and under and 55 and over. Buyacar found that the younger demographic were keener on dealership visits – 66% visited three or more dealerships.

And across both age groups, dealerships remain the favourite source of information in the car buying journey for 70.7% of respondents. The next favourite source is online reviews (67.8%), proving more popular than online customer reviews (49.7%).

How many dealers will you visit before you commit to a purchase?
  Total 54 & under 55 & over
1 12.5% 12.2% 12.6%
2 20.4% 20.7% 20.2%
3 33.5% 33.0% 33.7%
4 11.2% 10.3% 11.7%
5 or more 22.2% 23.5% 21.6%


How will you research your next car?
Information source Total 54 & under 55 & over
Visit dealership 70.7% 66% 73%
Online expert reviews 67.8% 77% 63%
Online customer reviews 49.7% 59% 45%
Magazine reviews 62.2% 67% 60%
TV reviews 8.9% 16% 5%
Other 6.4% 8% 6%


Austin Collins, founder, said: “This research shows just how thoroughly people research their next car purchase, with more than half citing magazine opinions and online expert reviews as an important source of information.

“But dealers are clearly still the go-to source when motorists are researching their next car, topping the list of all information sources mentioned in our survey. 

“We know from countless studies and stories that many consumers are uncomfortable with the traditional car buying process.

“We also know that people conduct more research online than ever before and are increasingly prepared to complete the purchase online. 

“However, it seems buyers remain keen to try - or at least see - before they buy.

“These findings demonstrate that dealers need a multi-channel route to market to make the most of the increasingly diverse ways that people approach car buying today.”

A total of 500 consumers were surveyed.


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