July 12, 2004


More than half of used car buyers now shop on internet

Westlake Village, California – Internet use among used-vehicle buyers has jumped significantly, with 54 percent of late-model used-vehicle buyers using the Internet during their shopping process – up from 47 percent in 2003, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Used Autoshopper.com Study.

“This is the most explosive growth in the used-vehicle automotive Internet user rate we have seen in three years,” said Dennis Galbraith, senior director of research for J.D. Power and Associates. “Not only are shoppers using the Internet in greater numbers, but also far more of them are finding their purchase decisions are impacted by information found online.”

Among all used-vehicle buyers, 36 percent say their make and model decisions were impacted by information found online – up from 29 percent in 2003 – while 22 percent were impacted in their selection of sellers – up from 16 percent. Among automotive Internet users, 85 percent say the Internet impacted the price they paid for their vehicle, and 66 percent say it impacted which make or model to purchase.

The study also finds, for the first time, that online sources have outpaced traditional newspaper advertising as the method that led buyers to the used vehicles they actually purchased. While 9 percent of buyers say they found their used vehicle through a newspaper advertisement, 11 percent attribute the Internet as the source of their purchase.

“Critical buying decisions increasingly are happening online,” said Galbraith. “This should serve as a wake-up call to used-vehicle dealers not yet using the Internet to promote their inventories. The more comfortable consumers become with the Internet, the more used-vehicle shoppers we will see going deep into the purchase funnel while online.”

In the U.S., Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) remains the most visited automotive site among used-vehicle buyers. AutoTrader.com continues to be the site that leads the most used-vehicle buyers to the vehicles they purchase. Online auction sites are growing in impact, with eBay Motors now following AutoTrader.com closely as a popular source of online sales.

The 2004 Used Autoshopper.com Study is based on responses from more than 12,000 owners of used vehicles who purchased pre-owned 1999-2004 model-year vehicles.

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