Car Shopping Via Mobile Device Drives Purchases


  • Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study Picture

    Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study Picture

    The Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study sheds light on mobile devices and car shopping. | June 05, 2014

Just the Facts:
  • The new Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study sheds light on the use of mobile devices by car shoppers.
  • Among other revelations, the study found that 54 percent of consumers who used mobile devices in the car-shopping process ended up making a purchase.
  • Despite the technology, the study concluded that consumers make final purchasing decisions based on traditional factors like price, brand, location and reviews.

NEW YORK — A new study shows that 54 percent of consumers who used mobile devices in the car-shopping process ended up making a purchase.

That statistic is one of many revelations in the 3rd annual Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study conducted by xAd, a global location ad platform and Telmetrics, which provides call-measurement technology.

Results from the study are based on data from an online survey of 2,000 U.S. smartphone and tablet users and actual observed consumer behavior from Nielsen's Smartphone Analytics Panel of 6,000 Apple and Android users.

It's clear from the findings that mobile devices have become a major shopping resource. Overall, 40 percent of those surveyed say they consider mobile to be their single most important tool for making purchasing decisions.

And all survey participants report that smartphones and tablets account for 51 percent of their time spent shopping online, eclipsing PCs for the first time. Last year's study found that only 33 percent of online shopping time was spent on mobiles.

Interestingly, car shoppers as a group still rely heavily on computers. About 74 percent of online car-shopping time is spent on PCs, compared to 20 percent on smartphones and 5 percent on tablets.

The majority (55 percent) of consumers surveyed use their mobile devices primarily for research at the beginning of the auto-shopping process. But 21 percent say they rely on mobiles throughout their search, even consulting the devices while shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.

"The impact of this increased mobile usage is significant and it isn't limited to on-device activity," said Monica Ho, senior vice president of marketing for xAd, in a statement. "With mobile consumers looking to make decisions quickly and locally, mobile is also serving as a tool to drive in-store activity."

Overall, 52 percent of survey respondents say they visited a physical location during the purchase process, as opposed to buying online. But, perhaps not surprisingly, 61 percent of car shoppers visited a dealership. Almost one in 10 of them continued to use mobile devices for additional research while there, and 67 percent of vehicle purchases were made in person.

And exactly what information are consumers seeking on their smartphones and tablets? According to the study, the two categories of most interest to auto shoppers are positive reviews (from other consumers, road-test sites, etc.) and contact information for dealerships. Those are followed by deals/special offers and locations/maps.

Whatever methodology is used to get information, the Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study found that consumers still appear to be making final purchasing decisions based on some fairly traditional factors. Those most often cited were price (24 percent), brand (18 percent), location (13 percent) and reviews (10 percent).

Edmunds says: Like most consumers, car buyers are relying on smartphones and tablets to make shopping easier.

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