Number of Auto Buyers at Dealers’ Web Sites
Last year, 30% of new car buyers visited dealers’ web sites, compared to 35% who looked at dealers’ advertising in local newspapers.
“Newspapers have to be concerned," says Friedman-Swift Associates Research Executive Judy George. “Five years ago, dealerships centered their advertising strategy on big ads in local newspapers,” she says. “Now, more car buyers use dealers’ web sites which, in some markets, are less expensive than the cost of a single newspaper ad.”
The Friedman-Swift research, based on surveys with 12,270 new car customers in 2005, shows the number of people using dealers’ web sites is rapidly climbing.
“In 2001, only 17% of new car buyers went to their dealer’s web site before they bought a car,” says George. “Now, more people see the Internet as a quick source of information about a specific car or a specific dealership."
Import car buyers are more likely to click on a dealership web site than GM, Ford or Chrysler owners, according to Friedman-Swift’s research.
"Thirty-six percent (36%) of import car buyers in 2005 looked at their dealer’s web site before they bought their vehicle,” says George. Only 25% of domestic car buyers did the same.
While the number of people who go to web sites has surged, the number who use newspapers to help choose a dealership has declined slightly. "Three years ago, the number of car buyers who consulted local newspapers before they bought their car was 37%," notes George.
The findings are the result of 12,270 telephone surveys Friedman-Swift Associates conducted with new car buyers in 2005. The research has a sampling error of less than one percent.
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Friedman-Swift Associates, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a leading provider of marketing research to automobile dealers and other retail businesses in the United States. Since 1979, Friedman-Swift Associates has pioneered proprietary market research that has helped dealers sell more cars in their local markets.
Friedman-Swift has conducted over 5,000 research studies for automotive dealers throughout the United States. The company’s clients include 75 of the top 100 largest automobile dealer groups and dealers who lead their brand in sales performance.
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