Mobile, Social Media and Google Reviews Dominate Car Buying Experience

Digital Air Strike, the leading social media, intelligent messaging and digital engagement company, announced that it will be a featured presenter unveiling its Seventh Annual Automotive Social Media Trends Study today at the J. D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable. This event brings hundreds of automotive agencies, manufacturers and dealerships together to review industry trends. The study covers the role of social media and online review sites in the car buying process, adoption of digital retailing, how consumers feel about AI and autonomous vehicles, reasons why customers choose a dealership and much more. Over 4,000 consumers that in the prior 6-month period either purchased or serviced a vehicle, nationwide, were surveyed, without any prequalification for their propensity to use online or digital mediums.

Top trends of Digital Air Strike’s Seventh Annual Automotive Social Media Trends Study include:

  • Social media, including review sites, play an increasingly large role in the vehicle sales and service process. 54 percent stated that social media, including review sites, were the most helpful online source to determine their dealership selection (up from 50 percent in the prior study).
    • While still lagging behind social media, websites ranked higher than in the previous study with 36 percent of consumers ranking that medium the most helpful (up from 33 percent in the prior study).
    • Social media sites play an even larger role in getting consumers to switch dealerships. 64 percent of those surveyed that changed dealerships and/or brands cited online reviews as the primary reason.
    • Google Reviews dominate, with 49 percent stating they used Google Reviews when searching for dealerships. In the prior study, 17 percent of consumers used Google+ reviews when searching for a dealership.  33 percent used Kelley Blue Book up from 28 percent in the prior study. 30 percent used down from 32 percent in the prior study, and 27 percent used Edmunds up from 25 percent in the prior study. 13 percent used Facebook up from 7 percent in prior study and 8 percent used Yelp down from 11 percent in prior study
    • 57 percent of consumers said they read Facebook Reviews about dealerships prior to purchasing (a jump up from 40 percent in the prior study).
  • Mobile use during the evaluation stage continues to grow, with 72 percent of sales customers and 67 percent of service customers reporting they used a mobile device to search for and read reviews about a dealership, up from 68 percent and 51 percent respectively in the prior study.
  • New information about the way car buyers and service customers are using Facebook features has emerged. The study found that 61 percent of sales customers ages 18-64, who’ve used Facebook Marketplace, have purchased something on the Marketplace and 66 percent would buy a used vehicle on the site.
  • New data emerged that technology like AI and self-driving cars are influencing consumer behavior, including that 73 percent of customers ages 18-64 have used a chat feature to contact a business with 89 percent of those customers classifying the experience as positive.
  • Shared vehicle ownership is something that 24 percent of all car buyers and services customers are interested in and 25 percent of consumers would like to own an autonomous vehicle.
  • Luxury vehicle owners are the group most interested in being able to select the type of vehicle they would be picked up in for shared ride services with 32 percent requesting a feature to choose their ride.

Venneri will be presenting the complete results with more than 100  data points from this year’s study at the J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable on October 24 from 3:20 – 4:05 p.m. at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The results will also be featured in an Automotive News webinar on November 13 at 11 a.m. PST / 2 p.m. EST and available in white paper format after the webinar.