Moments of Truth – How Car Buyers Shop

Car shoppers around the world, including the US, are changing how they shop for new and used vehicles. Gone are the days when consumers would go from dealership to auto dealership looking for the right car to purchase. Now, with multiple digital devices at their fingertips, car shoppers are able to ask questions and do research before even setting foot on the lot! The average car shopper takes only 2-3 months before visiting a dealership to take a test drive. Purchasing a vehicle is a very considered decision for car shoppers; so how has car shopping changed with the digital world? It used to be that people looking to buy a car would find a deal, research it online, and then go to a dealership to test drive and purchase a car.  Now, although there are still ads, car shoppers are less influenced by them – and more influenced by their own research, comparisons, and pricing. According to Google Trends, auto shoppers use an average of 18.2 different sources of information from TV, news articles, online, family, etc. before finally forming their final decision.

Customers are Taking the Wheel

The car buying process usually kicks off with the potential car shopper seeing an advertisement on TV, newspaper, billboard, or radio. And then customers take the wheel; and the car shopping process turns to digital. Auto dealerships are finding a greater need to influence car shoppers online, especially when it comes to classified advertising, to get car shoppers to even go into a dealership! That’s where we fit in, TapCars is a managed service that posts auto dealerships used car inventory across social media — where consumers are looking! The top 5 sources of influence on the path to purchasing a vehicle include test drive, looking at vehicles, getting an online quote, talking to a sales person and comparison shopping online. Car shoppers consider these experiences to be the most important in the car buying process.

Top 5 Car Buying Sources

Test Driving a Car


Looking at Vehicles


Requesting an Online Quote


Talked with a Salesperson


Comparison Shopping Online


*According to Google/Shopper Sciences, Zero Moment of Truth Study – Automotive, Apr 2011

Online Car Shopping Research

Car shoppers are doing more of their own research online and spending less time at dealerships. According to a McKinsey report the average buyer visits just 1.6 auto dealerships while car shopping, down from 10 years ago when shoppers visited an average of five dealerships. No matter the source, digital plays a a huge role in the car shopping experience today. In-market research and comparison searches on mobile devices has more than tripled since 2011 making mobile an important ad format for auto dealerships. According to JD Power, 48 percent of vehicle buyers that shop on a mobile device use their smartphone while at the dealership, primarily to access vehicle pricing as well as model information, inventory and classifieds searches, and special offers and incentives.

Post Car Buying Behavior

As a result of the car shopper being more invested in the decision making process – they are more devoted to the car brand they have chosen. After purchasing a vehicle, car buyers are excited to share their experience online! Many will call, text, email or meet with family or friends to talk about or show off their new or used car purchase. Over 41% will engage in sharing their vehicle purchase in some form of digital or Social Media – via blogging, tweeting, Facebook or writing a review on a website.

Want More Used Car Leads?

Demo the TapCars Platform Today!

*we'll never share your information

Want More Used Car Leads?

Demo the TapCars Platform Today!

*we'll never share your information