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Car Buying Survey 2020 Blog Post

Mobile Is More Important Than Ever for Car Buying

Posted Nov 13, 2020

For many people, the car buying experience has not changed much in the past several years. Consumers become familiar with new models through commercials, do some online research if they are interested, and then head to some dealerships before making a final decision. When looking below the surface, it’s evident that the car buying process has been moving to a much more digital model. During the pandemic, the shift from analog to digital car shopping has been accelerated. 

Online-only car dealers like Carvana, Vroom, and Shift are not only getting more attention from investors but also from auto shoppers. According to Bloomberg, those three companies collectively sold 125,411 vehicles at retail in the first half of 2020, a 36% increase from the same period a year earlier. In a year where mobile usage has skyrocketed, smartphones have also solidified their place in the car buying process. Consumers are not only using mobile devices to help with researching models and pricing; some are buying vehicles directly from their phones.

AdColony conducted an updated version of the Car Buying Survey to analyze consumers’ decision-making, how much mobile devices are used when shopping for a car, and the effects of COVID-19 on car buying plans. Check out highlights from the survey below and don’t forget to download the infographic and full report for all of the insights! 

Highlights from the Study:

Interest is growing in buying cars online. — Consumers were asked if they had ever bought a car online and had it delivered to their home using a service like Carvana or Vroom, or used a delivery option from a major automaker (Audi, Tesla, etc.). While 22% have said they had used a service like this, 37% said they would be interested. As online-only car dealers gain more credibility, interest in buying cars solely online could see a jump in the next several months. 

More consumers consider smartphones essential when buying a car. — In the previous edition of the survey, more than half of respondents said mobile devices were important while car shopping but this rate has gone up significantly this year. 69% of car buyers said it is very important or important to have their smartphone with them while shopping for a car, a 15% jump from last year.

Consumers that do research cars online are likely to visit a dealership. — A majority of respondents (70%) said they are very likely or likely to visit a dealership after researching cars online. That number is 11% higher than last year’s result.

Auto ads are effective, especially online. — Car buyers were asked about how they consider and interact with auto ads. Over half of respondents (56%) said they consider relevant auto ads when shopping for a car. Additionally, 51% said they have clicked on an auto ad while looking for cars online. The increased time spent on mobile should be an indication of marketers should place their ads for vehicles.

Car buying plans changed for some consumers due to COVID-19. — While many consumers’ plans have not changed, many of them are now interested in buying cars online to avoid visiting dealerships. Some people cite financial issues as the reasons they have changed plans including less money for a down payment and financing needs have changed.

Don’t forget to click on the infographic to open it full size!

About the Study
The AdColony Car Buying Survey 2020 was distributed globally and garnered over 1,700 responses. This report focuses on results specifically from the United States. The survey asked respondents, aged 14 years old to over 75, fifteen questions about their car shopping behavior, dealership visits, device usage, and ad engagement. 

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