LAS VEGAS — Digital Air Strike‘s Alexi Venneri unveiled the company’s Seventh Annual Automotive Social Media Trends Study at yesterday’s J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable. The study covers the role of social media and online review sites in the car-buying process, adoption of digital retailing, how consumers feel about AI and autonomous vehicles, reasons why customers choose a dealership and much more.
More than 4,000 consumers who purchased or serviced a vehicle in the six months leading up to the study were surveyed, without any prequalification for their propensity to use online or digital mediums, Venneri said.
“Car buyers are doing their research more diligently than ever before, causing their reliance on social media and online review sites to increase significantly,” said Digital Air Strike’s co-founder and CEO. “The study highlights new trends in car buying and new ways consumers want to engage with retailers including the utilization of Facebook Marketplace for purchasing used vehicles. It further emphasizes how the automotive industry is changing with the rise of online car buying sites and ride-sharing, and in turn, creating an increasing need for manufacturers and dealerships to leverage digital engagement technology to be more responsive to consumers.”
Social media, including review sites, was found to play an increasingly large role in the vehicle sales and service process. Fifty-four percent of respondents stated that social media, including review sites, were the most helpful online source to determine their dealership selection (up from 50% in the prior study).
While still lagging behind social media, websites ranked higher than in the previous study with 36% of consumers ranking that medium the most helpful (up from 33% in the prior study).
Social media sites play an even larger role in getting consumers to switch dealerships. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed that changed dealerships or brands cited online reviews as the primary reason.
Google Reviews appeared to dominate, with 49% stating they used Google Reviews when searching for dealerships. In the prior study, 17% of consumers used Google+ reviews when searching for a dealership. Thirty-three percent used Kelley Blue Book, up from 28% in the prior study. Thirty percent used Cars.com, down from 32% in the prior study, and 27% used Edmunds, up from 25% in the prior study. Thirteen percent used Facebook, up from 7% in prior study and 8% used Yelp, down from 11% in the prior study. Finally, 57% of consumers said they read Facebook Reviews about dealerships prior to purchasing, up from 40% in the prior study).