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More and more consumers are buying their car online

More and more consumers are buying their car online

The consumer’s affinity for technology is growing and has an impact on the decision-making process when buying a car: More and more consumers want to buy their new car online. This is a result of the current study “Cars Online 11/12”, which is carried out annually by the consulting and IT service company Capgemini. In addition, the demand for new cars has also increased in the saturated markets – by five percentage points to 66 percent compared to the previous year.

However, customer loyalty is falling: According to the study, 61 percent would buy the same vehicle or brand again, compared with 65 percent last year. Despite the interest in new cars, some consumers are postponing the planned purchase until the economy shows more stability. Concepts like car sharing and technological developments are influencing the industry as the number of channels for finding and buying a car increases, as do customer expectations. For the study, more than 8,000 end customers in Germany, France, Great Britain, the USA as well as in Brazil, Russia, India and China who would like to buy or lease a car within the next twelve months were surveyed.

94 percent of consumers look for information on the Internet or make their purchase there – this high number is partly due to increasing use in the growth markets. In contrast, fewer and fewer consumers visit a car dealership before making a purchase. Online purchases are gaining international acceptance: 42 percent of those surveyed stated in the study that they would buy their car on the Internet. In Germany only 32 percent said this. In 2009, the global average was 37 percent. Global trust in social media and consumer-generated content is also growing: 71 percent of those surveyed would be more likely to buy a car if it was rated positively on social media. The reasons given by those not interested in buying online were that there was no test drive option and that they were not given full product and pricing information. “The hurdles for an online purchase have been constant for years, the use of social media and corresponding channel management strategies can counteract this,” states Kai-Olaf Dammenhain, Head of the Automotive Sector at Capgemini in Germany.

Contrary to the general trend, German consumers place the greatest trust in personal information from car dealers: for almost 60 percent of German citizens, this is the number one source of information. The most convincing argument to persuade them to buy a car on the Internet is the price: if the Internet offer was cheap, Germans would be the most likely to strike compared to other nationalities. When it comes to the social media trend, Germany brings up the rear in the current survey, as only seven percent use social media information from retailers or manufacturers. In other regions this value is many times over, in China it is 32 percent. And although German consumers are also influenced by positive or negative comments on social media, they react the least in a country comparison.

The full study is available on the Internet: