A new survey has found that more car shoppers are using the Internet to research their cars before going shopping.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 New Autoshopper.com study, 75 percent of new-vehicle buyers in 2008 are using the Internet during their shopping process, up from 70 percent last year. The jump marks the largest year-over-year increase in online shopping
"The current economic environment, coupled with high fuel prices, has given rise to a shift in the vehicle buying habits of U.S. consumers," said Arianne Walker, director of marketing/media research at J.D. Power and Associates. "Shoppers who were once loyal to larger vehicle models are now finding themselves in the market for a compact or midsize car. For many, this is unknown territory, and these shoppers are turning to the Internet for information and education about the vehicles in their new consideration set. The resulting demand for information provides automotive marketers with valuable opportunities to reach out to shoppers via the Internet."
The amount of time shoppers spend online researching automotive information
has also increased since 2007 -- up 12 percent to more than six and a half hours.
The number of Web sites being visited by new-vehicle shoppers has remained relatively flat since 2007, which suggests that consumers have become more engaged with the sites they currently visit.
"The collaborative environment facilitated by Web 2.0 is changing the way shoppers research vehicles, driving many to seek the experiences and opinions of other shoppers and owners," said Walker. "The opinions of other consumers are so impactful that we are already seeing distinct purchasing patterns develop between those shoppers who use consumer ratings and reviews, and those who rely solely on expert ratings and reviews."
The 2008 New Autoshopper.com Study is based on the self-reported shopping habits of 27,901 new-vehicle buyers. The study was fielded from May to July 2008.