Smartphone Users as Serious About Car Shopping as Desktop Users, Says

Smartphone Users as Serious About Car Shopping as Desktop Users, Says

Analysis Identifies Key Differences Between Smartphone and Desktop Car Shoppers, as well as iOS vs. Android Shoppers

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — June 22, 2015 — Car shoppers using smartphones to access's are just as likely — if not more likely - to engage in serious shopping behaviors than visitors using desktop computers, laptops and tablets, according to a new analysis by the company. The conclusion is one of many takeaways from the research, which offers important insights to automotive retailers as they consider how to invest their resources to meet the crush of shoppers who are turning more to their smartphones to help them make car-buying decisions.

Even though smartphone users spend less time on Edmunds than wired users, they view as many or more pages during that time, and they're more likely to focus their research on specific vehicles. According to the analysis, 79 percent of smartphone users on Edmunds research at least one specific vehicle model during their time on the site, surpassing even the impressive rate of about 65 percent of wired users.

Smartphone users view local inventory listings at rates more than 30 percent higher than their wired counterparts, suggesting that they are generally lower in the funnel of the car buying process.

"One of the most explicit car shopping behaviors that consumers can exhibit is viewing local inventory, and smartphone users are especially inclined to engage in this behavior," says Chief Economist Dr. Lacey Plache. "Not all mobile users are just playing: many are really serious about using their phones to assist in buying a car."

Edmunds' analysis also examined the shopping preferences of both iOS and Android smartphone users. According to an analysis of page views by these two groups, the most popular automotive brand on both operating systems is Toyota. But a deeper look shows stark differences between iOS and Android loyalists: Three luxury brands (BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus), for example, appear on the list of the ten most researched brands for iOS users, compared to just one luxury brand (BMW) for Android users. iOS users also skew more toward Honda (#2 on the brand list) than do Android users (#4 on the brand list).

Most Popular Brands on - iOS vs Android Users

Rank iOS Android
1 Toyota Toyota
2 Honda Chevrolet
3 Ford Ford
4 Chevrolet Honda
5 BMW Nissan
6 Nissan Dodge
7 Mercedes-Benz Mazda
8 Jeep BMW
9 Lexus Hyundai
10 Mazda Jeep


Edmunds' mobile shopper analysis reveals the following additional key findings:

  • Used car shoppers are especially engaged on mobile. Smartphone site visitors show a stronger preference for used vehicles than wired site visitors (with 53 percent of smartphone visitors looking up used cars vs. 38 percent of wired visitors). And among shoppers who only consider used car content on Edmunds, the share of smartphone shoppers browsing used car inventory on Edmunds is 40 percent higher than the share of wired shoppers.
  • Mobile shoppers are younger. According to Edmunds' research, 55 percent of smartphone visitors are Millennials (age 18 to 34), compared to 26 percent of wired site users. And a recent Millennial Study conducted by Edmunds found that 80 percent of Millennials used their mobile devices to help them with at least one car shopping task, compared to just 46 percent of people age 35 and over.
  • Smartphone shoppers engage more with advertising. Smartphone users are at least 2.5 times more likely to click on ads than wired site visitors, and mobile engagement has tripled compared to last year. An analysis of post-Edmunds activity found that these mobile clickers continue to perform serious shopping activities on the OEM or dealer sites where their ad clicks redirect them, suggesting that these engagements are not due to accidental clicks or by mistaking ads for Edmunds content.
  • The overall mobile audience is growing rapidly. Edmunds' mobile site users and traffic have more than doubled since 2012.

More insights into mobile car shopping engagement on can be found in the Industry Center at

Car-shopping website serves nearly 18 million visitors each month. With Price Promise®, shoppers can get an instant, upfront price for cars and trucks currently for sale at 10,000 dealer franchises across the U.S. Shoppers can browse not only dealer inventory, but also vehicle reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories on both Edmunds' wired site and on its acclaimed mobile apps. Regarded as one of the best places to work in Southern California, was also named one of "The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Automotive" by Fast Company. Edmunds welcomes all car-shopping questions on its free Live Help Line at 1-855-782-4711 and, via text at ED411 and on Twitter and Facebook. The company is based in Santa Monica, Calif. and has a satellite office in downtown Detroit, Mich., but you can find Edmunds from anywhere on YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Flipboard.

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