During the COVID-19 pandemic, 65% of automotive shoppers’ decision to purchase a vehicle was affected and 40% of shoppers delayed making a new vehicle purchase, according to the J.D. Power 2020 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study.
As a result, more buyers are now willing to purchase their vehicles online instead of at a dealership. Is this a long-term trend or a temporary fad? The answer has significant financial, marketing and job implications for the auto industry.
“There is no mistaking that the pandemic has put a sizeable dent in the automotive market,” said Jon Sundberg, senior manager of digital solutions at J.D. Power. “As government regulations have affected the ability for people to go into a dealership on top of people becoming wary about venturing out to a dealership to purchase a car, it is more imperative now than ever that manufacturers better equip their online retailing presence to cater to this change.”
This year’s study finds overall satisfaction of 835 (on a 1,000-point scale) in the segment for luxury manufacturer websites and 825 in the segment for mass market manufacturer websites. Mercedes-Benz ranks highest among luxury manufacturer websites with a score of 850, followed by Land Rover (847) and BMW (846). Chevrolet and Ram rank highest in a tie among mass market manufacturer websites with a score of 843, followed by Toyota (840).
The Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study – Summer, initially released in 1999, is based on responses from 13,451 vehicle shoppers (desktop and smartphone) who indicate they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months. The study was fielded in April-May 2020.