Gen Y Internet Auto Shoppers Open to Any Brand

Behavioral economics shows people make emotional and non-rational decisions often with information “framed” by stereotypes and anecdotes.

New-vehicle buyers who use the internet for  auto shopping are open to any brand when they initially, and more than one-half of so-called Gen Y buyers (16-32), aka millennials, are open to consider any brand that meets their needs, according to a new study. Among all auto shoppers, 79% use the Internet to research their new vehicle purchase. (Read AutoInformed on Millennial Car Buyers Dream Big, Purchase Smaller)

Virtually all internet users at 98% visit manufacturer sites while shopping followed by dealer sites (83%), third party sites (80%), and social media sites (7%). Dealer and social media sites are said to be the least useful, according to J.D. Power, the source of the data.

The research claims these internet-shopping behaviors:

  • On average, the entire vehicle-shopping process takes approximately four months for AIUs.
  • On average, internet users access 10 automotive websites before purchasing a vehicle (including third party, dealer and manufacturer sites).
  • 90% or more of internet users are looking for model information and vehicle pricing. However, only 19 % access dealer ratings/reviews prior to purchase.

Although internet shoppers continue to use a desktop or laptop computer most often to gather information, tablet and smartphone usage is increasing. For the first time in the annual survey, the percentage of tablet users has surpassed those using smartphones (25% and 23%, respectively). More than one-third (34%) of the auto shoppers perform research using multiple devices, including desktop or laptops, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles.

The 2013 New Autoshopper Study is based on responses from 17,012 purchasers and lessees of 2011 to 2013 model-year new vehicles who used information gathered digitally during the shopping process.

Read Donna Barbera on Designing for Techies Means Gen Y


About Kenneth Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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