Traditional car dealerships might be missing out big if they are not prepared for the digitalisation of the automotive industry. Our Car Buying Trends 2022 survey investigates how ready car buyers are to purchase a car without ever stepping a foot in the dealership.
The results of the survey show that 30% of car buyers would buy a car completely online.
Our findings highlight the importance of a digital-first dealership to ensure future success and the ability to respond to changing customer expectations.
Keep reading for more insights on car buyers and how they feel about the digital buying experience.
What buying a car completely online means?
First, let’s define what we mean by “buying a car completely online”.
When we refer to buying a car online, we mean the entire purchasing process can take place without visiting the physical dealership location. This means discovering the car, talking to a salesperson, taking a virtual tour and test drive, and signing paperwork all takes place online up until receiving the purchased vehicle.
Just because people are buying a car online does not mean that an actual person won’t have to get involved.
About our Car Buying Trends 2022 Survey
We at giosg set out to found out how willing car buyers would be to purchase their next car entirely online – from first contact to having the keys in their hands. We surveyed 288 car buyers in our Car Buying Trends 2022 survey. The sample included respondents from Finland, Sweden, the UK and 124 other countries.
Whether you’re a car dealer, marketer or salesman looking for an edge over your competitors you’ll probably like to know the following:
- What sorts of features are important to car buyers when buying a car completely online?
- Why are car buyers ready to buy a car completely online?
- Why aren’t car buyers ready to buy completely online?
- How can dealerships prepare to sell more cars online?
Read on to hear about our research’s most interesting findings, as well as tips and tools to help you curate your own automotive digital showroom. The full research will be published in our automotive handbook in April.
Car buyer survey key findings
We’ll go into more detail about our survey results throughout this article, but here are some notable statistics from our survey.
- 60% of respondents said that seeing a video of the car is an important factor in buying a used car completely online. Only 50% of respondents found it important when buying new cars online.
- More than half (56%) of respondents said that they spent over 10h researching cars, with most of this research being done online. Only 2% of respondents said they do not do any research before buying a car.
- Only 28% of car buyers visit the dealership as their first step in initiating the buying process. The rest use phone or digital methods.
- More than half (52%) of car buyers, found information on the dealership’s page to be unhelpful, while 32% found the dealership's site as a whole to be unclear.
- More than half (54%) of car buyers said they would consider buying from a dealership more than 30km away from their home.
What features are important to car buyers when buying a car completely online?
Perhaps you have already implemented the following aspects into your online car showroom, perhaps you haven’t. Either way, there’s nothing like some cold hard stats to show you why certain elements are important for your online car dealership.
Here is what car buyers would need to see when considering buying a car completely online:
Seeing video of the car
When buying a new car completely online, 50% of respondents answered that seeing video of the car was important. When buying a used car 60% of respondents said that seeing video of the car was important.
Live video of the car
36% of car buyers reported that they found live video to be important when buying a new car completely online. Moreover, exactly half (50%) of respondents found live video to be important when buying a used car completely online.
Whether you already offer these elements, it is still poignant to note these aspects concerning people looking to buy completely online.
Why are car buyers ready to buy a car completely online?
First off, 30% of respondents said they’d likely buy a car completely online. This is in line with a previous study, which found that 23% of car buyers would be in favour of purchasing a car completely online. Drivers for buying a car completely online are below.
Convenience was a stand out theme with more than half of respondents citing “Saves time” (57%) and “Easier than going to the showroom” (52%) as reasons they’d consider buying a car completely online.
Car buyers also responded that buying online gave them more options, better possibilities for financing and the benefits of local legislation regarding online selling.
Are car buyers more likely to buy a car completely online once knowing the full scope of it?
We asked car buyers if dealerships offered live video tours, moneyback guarantee, home delivery and more, would it sway their opinion on buying a car completely online.
The result was surprising.
Cold feet, fear of the new and unknown, whatever you want to call it, it is clear that when the buyer knows exactly what a completely online purchasing experience entails, the statistic jumps from 30% to 59%.
That’s nearly double!
This statistics nicely supports the importance of informing and articulating what exactly your online car dealership offers.
Why aren’t car buyers ready to buy a car completely online?
A good way to start offering new types of online shopping capabilities is to understand what are common barriers that are preventing some car buyers from engaging completely online.
While 30% of car buyers are ready to buy a car completely online, the rest are on the fence.
By asking car buyers about their objections to buying a car fully online, we can deduce the types of features they prioritise when buying a car online.
The top objections to buying a car completely online included wanting to test drive the car before buying (87%) and wanting to talk to a salesperson (58%).
What can we learn from objections to buying a car completely online?
Dealerships wanting to sell completely online need to have at least some sort of video shopping capability to enable them to talk face-to-face to the buyer to answer queries and build trust.
Wanting to test a new car (87%) is an overwhelming concern for car buyers. To combat this many digital-first dealerships offer a 48h test drive, giving car buyers a chance to make a more informed buying decision and added peace of mind.
Thankfully many of the other woes such as wanting to talk to someone and negotiating can relatively easily be remedied with basic video shopping capabilities.
Interestingly more than half (52%) of car buyers found information on the dealerships’ webpage to be insufficient, and 32% found the dealership's site as a whole to be unclear. These statistics are not exclusively related to buying a car completely online but rather buying a car in general.
This is important to point out as if basic information is lacking or otherwise confusing the overall success of your online presence will be in jeopardy. This makes it harder to convince car buyers to trust a novel online purchasing system.
How can dealerships prepare to sell more cars completely online?
So have you heard enough to convince you to get your website ready to sell more cars online?
Here are some tools that’ll help you breathe life into your digital car showroom and create experiences customers love.
Live video shopping
As mentioned above, many respondents found live video to be important when buying a car completely online (36% when buying a new car, 50% when buying a used car). People want to talk to a salesperson. Either to ask questions, negotiate or because information on the website is insufficient.
With live video shopping capabilities, you can connect with customers one-on-one, building trust and ensuring an experience that is the same as if they had come to visit your showroom.
Another powerful tool for your website that will help push customers to buy completely online is video bots. These are videos embedded in pop-ups after someone has been viewing the page for a certain amount of time. Video bots can therefore be used as a way to subtly introduce what the buyer can expect from your dealership.
Remember, people want to see videos of the car, use video bots to showcase the car.
Alternatively, you could have a video of a salesperson explaining exactly what a buyer can expect from your dealership as they are twice as likely to buy a car completely online when knowing what they are getting.
Use interaction builder to easily make video bots that fit seamlessly into your digital showroom.
Live chat ensures that customers on your website aren’t kept waiting, thus speeding up the process of engaging with high purchase intent customers. Just over 9% of our survey respondents preferred to connect with the dealership first via live chat.
Furthermore, live chat helps with offering customers on your website an opportunity to engage in a live chat based on time spent on site, site viewing history, site and campaign URLs.
Don’t overload your customer service or salespeople with answering questions a chatbot could answer. Nowadays nearly 70% of conversations can be answered by a chatbot, this means using a chatbot will ease the workload on your staff considerably as well as answer queries, ensuring less stress and more high intent buyers coming your way.
For more information on tools to help you sell more cars online, check out this post where we go through a checklist to make sure your digital showroom is in tip-top shape.
Ready to start selling more cars completely online?
These tools help give your online car dealership that extra human touch, leading to richer and more meaningful interactions with your customers.
If you’re ready for the next step in your digital endeavours don’t hesitate to book a demo with our team!