Car dealerships still ‘essential’ to car buyers

14th November 2019

Despite the increasingly important role played by the internet in consumers’ car buying journeys, physical dealerships remain essential.

That’s according to the National Franchised Dealer Association’s latest Consumer Attitude Survey, which found that 75% of car purchases, for cars under seven years old, are made at franchised dealers. A further 14% are made at independent garages; 5% at used car supermarkets and 5% from private sellers. When considering only brand-new cars, 93% of them were bought at franchised dealerships.

The survey also found that 50% of consumers visit a car dealership website before purchasing a vehicle. However, 32% of respondents bought a car from a franchised dealership without using any websites at all.

Buyers of prestige car brands were more likely to visit manufacturer websites (46%), and research in papers/magazines (13%), than those buying volume brands (32% and 8% respectively).

The findings mirror the latest data from research body ICDP, which showed that the number of consumer visits to physical dealerships, as well as the total number of dealerships visited by consumers, were higher in 2019 than in previous years.

The survey has revealed a growing trend towards online retailing and the importance of the customer experience online going forward,” NFDA Director Sue Robinson said. “But consumers continue to see physical dealerships as an essential element of their buying journey.

“With the range of new vehicles coming to the market and their modern, innovative features, consumers are more likely to want to see a car before they buy it. Additionally, consumers place significant value on their interaction with retailers, where they look for advice and reassurance.It is encouraging to see that retailers continue to play a key role in informing consumers and helping them find the vehicle that best suits their needs.”

Return to news