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Car Shoppers Keep Clicking Before They Buy

Dealers' Web Site Traffic Continues to Climb

Cincinnati –September 12, 2012 – New car buyers keep clicking their way to auto dealership web sites, according to national data released today by Friedman-Swift Associates, an automotive market research firm.

Nationally, 40 percent of new car buyers visit the web site of the dealership where they buy their car. This statistic is based on 10,338 new car buyers Friedman-Swift Associates surveyed across the United States from January 2011 to July 2012.

"We've watched this trend increase steadily over the years," says Jeff Friedman, Chief Executive Officer of Friedman-Swift Associates in Cincinnati, Ohio. "In 2006, 30 percent of new car buyers went to dealer Web sites," he notes. "In 2001, only 17 percent did." Over half of the web site visitors find their dealer's web through search engines. "Fifty-nine percent of visitors find a dealer's site through a search engine, predominantly Google," explains Friedman. "Nationally, Google pushes 48 percent of the search engine traffic to dealer sites, while Yahoo directs only four percent."

The surge in Internet traffic continues to hit newspapers hard, which traditionally had been a surefire advertising medium for dealers. In 2006, over a third—35 percent—of new car buyers looked in their local newspaper's automotive section before buying a car. Now, only 21 percent of buyers consult their local newspaper's car pages.

Though traffic has increased, only 59 percent of web site visitors say the information they find on a dealership site motivates them to visit the showroom, a fact that doesn't surprise Friedman. "Many dealers don't understand their web site really is an advertisement," he says. "They become too involved in technical design and forget the web site should be giving shoppers a reason to buy from them."

Converting online automotive shoppers into satisfied customers is one of the problems Friedman-Swift Associates solves through its custom research for auto dealerships. "One of biggest things missing on dealer web sites is any sense of urgency," Friedman explains. "Our research helps dealers discover what specific messages motivate local car buyers to choose their dealership over others."

ABOUT FRIEDMAN-SWIFT ASSOCIATES : Friedman-Swift Associates is the largest retail automotive research firm in the country, serving over 6,000 automobile dealerships including most Number One retailers in each line and most megadealers since 1979. For more information, email or call 513-772-9200.

Friedman-Swift  |  110 Boggs Lane Suite 200  |  Cincinnati, Ohio 45246  |  513-772-9200