The auto industry is ever-changing. The cars people buy and the way people shop for cars change as technology, trends, and customer priorities change as well. As such, it is crucial for auto dealers to continue to adapt to new and updated trends in the auto industry in order to continue to satisfy their customers. Here are 5 major car buying trends that are sweeping through the auto industry as drivers make new decisions about which cars to buy as well as when, where, and how to buy those cars.
Heightened Focus on Online Shopping
Car buyers have recently shown a heightened focus on online shopping, especially with the spread of COVID-19 across the globe leading to widespread stay-at-home orders and business closures. It is very important for car dealerships to continuously update their websites, including their online inventories, in order to reflect the current vehicles they have available for purchase and their up-to-date prices.
The usage of smartphones and other mobile devices to shop for vehicles online has also increased significantly over the past few years. It is no longer enough for car dealerships to maintain websites that are desktop-friendly. These websites must also be optimized for mobile devices in order to successfully reach the largest number of customers.
Desire to Reduce Time Spent at the Dealership
One of the current biggest trends in the auto industry deals with customers’ desires to reduce the amount of time they have to spend at the car dealership when buying a car. Many drivers are frustrated that the process of buying a car at a dealership often requires long wait times, lots of in-person paperwork to complete, and hoops to jump through that make the whole process last longer than it reasonably should.
Especially in light of the pandemic that is still sweeping the globe, car dealerships that offer alternative options that reduce the amount of time they spend at the dealership tend to have more success in the auto industry and draw in more customers. These alternative options include online financing options, online paperwork completion options, and, in some cases, home delivery options for new vehicles.
Discouragement at Lack of Affordability of Vehicles
Many drivers are discouraged at the lack of affordability of buying or leasing a new vehicle. This is no surprise, as new vehicle prices above $50,000 have jumped from representing 6% of new vehicles in 2012 to represent 23% of new vehicles in 2018. Almost 50% of drivers agree that buying or leasing a brand-new vehicle is too expensive.
Car dealerships offering special deals and discounts as well as flexible financing options can help car buyers feel better about buying or leasing new cars. It is also recommended that car dealerships place a heightened focus on marketing the used cars in their inventory, as many more drivers have begun to view buying a used car as a viable, more affordable alternative to purchasing or leasing a brand-new vehicle. In fact, recent statistics indicate that up to 2 out of 3 drivers would choose to buy a used vehicle rather than buy or lease a brand-new model.
Making Buying Decisions More Quickly
Cars are remaining on the market for less and less time as car buyers begin to make buying decisions more quickly. On average, car buyers spend approximately 3 months searching for a car and researching their buying decision before they actually make a decision and purchase a vehicle. In 2018, however, car buyers spent an average of about 4 months on their car-buying journey.
The faster decisions that car buyers are making mean that car dealerships must find ways to compete in the marketplace and set themselves apart from and above the competitors in their area in order to make sales. Some effective competition methods for car dealerships include improving their online presence and offering limited-edition special deals, discounts, and flexible financing options that encourage customers to act quickly before prices increase.
Appreciation for Personalized Shopping Experience
Car buyers are valuing personalized shopping experiences more than ever before. They value personalized advertisements and marketing tactics and appreciate customer service that feels personal and attentive.
Car dealerships that develop their own personal voices are more likely to secure their customers’ trust and confidence. Providing fast and responsive customer service also helps customers feel heard by your business and makes them feel as though their car buying process caters directly to them and is specifically personalized to their needs and preferences.
Car buying trends change regularly, but these recent top trends are impacting the car buying journey for drivers and are important for car dealers and other auto service and sales providers to note in order to continue to effectively adapt to ever-changing trends in the auto industry.
If you’re an automotive dealership and need help navigating through the recent changes and trends, contact us today!