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(Graphic: Business Wire)

According to the survey, most respondents (88 percent) also want easier and clearer pricing to help expedite the car-buying process, while 77 percent want dealers to provide them with a simpler way to configure a vehicle. More than three quarters (76 percent) would like to have the ability to compare additional options with the same automaker’s product line and 75 percent would welcome more mobile-enabled websites. Additionally, 74 percent desire better integration between dealer sites and inventory search functions.

“In our experience, car buyers are open to post-sales activities such as loyalty program memberships and enrollment in maintenance plans,” said Mentuccia. “Success with these programs can be enhanced through the use of customized landing pages that are based on customer demographics, personal preferences and previous interactions. However, our research shows that consumers believe the auto industry has a way to go to enhance digital marketing.”

Better Digital Marketing Sites Key to Future Car-buying

According to the survey, 82 percent of the respondents believe that better interactive digital marketing is a must for the auto industry, and 83 percent agree that improved digital media would significantly reduce the time needed to purchase a vehicle. In addition, over three quarters of consumers (76 percent) feel that the auto sector significantly lags other retail industries in the use of digital media tools such as video and 360-degree website tours.

Accenture believes that putting digital marketing to better use could yield an increase in topline sales for the automotive sector of one to two percent.

Americans use social media, Italians less likely to use manufacturers’ websites, Germans want on-line chat with dealers

The study polled consumers in both developed and emerging markets. In each of these markets, the level of digital penetration has created an appetite among buyers for using digital channels, illustrating how important it is for auto makers and dealers to tap into the power of mobile devices and the internet. However, the research also uncovered some disparities among consumers in the countries represented in the survey:
  • American drivers, for example, are the most likely to turn to social media when buying a car – 94 percent use social media reviews as part of their online searches, compared with only 58 percent of consumers in India and 75 percent overall.
  • Chinese buyers expressed the highest interest – 82 percent – in using digital communications to find out more about news in car-technology. In contrast, they had the lowest interest – 76 percent – in using digital communications to learn more about parts exchange upgrades.
  • German drivers – 81 percent – had the greatest interest in chatting with dealers online in order to make the online purchase process easier.
  • By contrast, only 58 percent of Malaysian drivers and 59 percent of Indian drivers expressed an interest in this option.
  • The country with the highest interest among consumers in carrying out the entire vehicle purchase process online is South Korea. In fact, 96 percent of South Korean respondents said they would be interested in handling everything regarding a car purchase online, including financing, price negotiation, back-office paperwork and final delivery to their home.
  • Indian drivers are the least likely to have bought their current car online: 13 percent, compared to 37 percent of American respondents.
  • More than half (56 percent) of Indonesians visit fewer than five car-buying websites, while 33 percent of Americans visit more than 20 websites when buying a car.
  • Italian drivers are the least likely to use manufacturers’ websites when making online searches for a car, at 60 percent, compared to 84 percent of South Koreans and 72 percent of respondents overall.
  • Brazilian and French drivers expressed the greatest interest in seeing easier and clearer online pricing, with 93 percent of respondents in both countries citing this factor.
  • Among Japanese drivers responding to the survey, 83 percent said they would like to see more mobile-enabled websites to help them in the car-purchasing process, compared to only 54 percent of Indian respondents.

In terms of the major influencers that impact their car-buying decisions, survey respondents essentially gave equal weight across the board to manufacturer sites (53 percent), the recommendations of friends and colleagues (54 percent), social media (56 percent) and advice from family (59 percent).

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