ATLANTA — According to a new study released today by Cox Automotive, budget-minded, time-strapped, tech-savvy U.S. car buyers are spending a higher percentage of their shopping time online and less total time in market as they hunt for their perfect ride. The 2019 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey study also indicates consumers continue to be frustrated by new-vehicle prices and are more likely than ever to be shopping for used vehicles.
“While better online tools are helping people find the information they need, there is still more work that needs to be done to improve the car-buying experience, according to our latest study,” said Isabelle Helms, vice president of Research and Market Intelligence for Cox Automotive. “At the dealership, filling out paperwork and negotiating a price remain top frustrations for most consumers.”
The study indicates only 39% of car buyers believe the process has improved since the last time they bought a car, an indicator the industry still has ample room for progress. And less than 10% of car buyers are negotiating price online or filling out paperwork, activities that are known to improve the overall experience.
“However, we found that consumers are spending more of their shopping time online while making faster decisions and spending fewer days in market,” Helms noted.
Analysts found car buyers spent an estimated 61% of active shopping time online — up from 57% in 2017 — and were in-market an average of 96 days, a drop of more than 20 days in the past two years. What’s more, approximately 50% of used-car buyers and 44% of new-car buyers are now spending 30 days or less in-market.
Additional highlights include:
- Respondents visited an average of 2.3 dealerships in 2018, down from 2.7 in 2017.
- Forty-one percent of buyers visited just one dealership, up from 30% last year.
- Only 35% of new vehicles were priced under $30,000 in 2018 compared with 54% in 2012.
- Nearly two-thirds (64%) of car shoppers are “now leaning toward” a used-vehicle purchase.
To read the full report, click here.