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Study Details Online Car Shopper?s Needs & Wants

Study Details Online Car Shopper's Needs & Wants

A new global survey from Accenture of 10,000 consumers found that 80 percent of drivers in the market for a new vehicle are using some form of digital technology to research before purchasing, while almost two-thirds (62 percent) are beginning the car-buying process online before entering a store.

Another sign the car purchase process is headed for the Web? The survey also showed that 75 percent of drivers polled would consider working through the entire car-buying process online.

"The impact of the digital customer is becoming pervasive, disrupting the traditional car-buying experience and the competitive landscape," said Christina Raab, global managing director for digital consumer services in Accenture's Automotive practice. "This is clearly supported by the fact that many would consider conducting the entire car-buying process online.

"In order to grow business in this environment, OEMs and dealers will need to pursue an aggressive digital strategy online, in the showroom and in aftersales, while creating a seamless, integrated experience to accommodate all customer needs."

Taking a look at the U.S. survey results, in particular, which accounted for 10 percent of the drivers surveyed, Auto Remarketing will be dissecting the results over the next week to pick out some of the most compelling material - such as what are the most influential factors on shoppers' decisions when buying a car.

More and more, these factors are increasingly found on the Web. For example, 30 percent of respondents cited social media as the most influential factor, such as Facebook and Twitter/customer feedback. For dealer websites, that number jumps to 32 percent. Manufacturer websites also proved important, with 34 percent of U.S. respondents citing this medium as the most influential factor in their buying decision.

It is apparent that more and more consumers are turning to the Web for their car-buying needs, but the next question is: how do we make the process easier for them online?

When asked what would make the process of researching for a new car via online channels easier, 60 percent of U.S. respondents said having information tailored to their needs would be most helpful. And with the ability to target specific demographics through advertising and email marketing, this is becoming easier and easier to deliver.

The most important factor, however, was comparison shopping sites - 69 percent of respondents said these tools would make car shopping online easier. Many third-party sites can serve this purpose, so perhaps making sure to have inventory on multiple third-party listing sites would prove helpful to dealers.

Another 59 percent of respondents said virtual demos of new-car models prove helpful, while 36 percent calls for augmented reality to instantly access information about the car.

The last two factors mentioned focus on interaction on manufacturer and dealer websites. According to the survey, 32 percent of respondents said they wanted a virtual assistant available to give expert advice, while another 27 percent prefer online chat with dealers.

Research for the study was conducted by Coleman Parkes on behalf of Accenture, and owners were surveyed in eight countries: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan and the United States.