AutoTrader.com’s Automotive Buyer Influence Study demonstrates the car shopping process is rapidly evolving with Millennials heavy use of the Internet and smartphones. The study found increased smartphone usage among all car buyers, jumping nine percentage points from 2013 to 2014, but the highest use of smartphones was among Millennials; half of this cohort reported using a smartphone to shop for their vehicle in 2014, an increase from 34 percent in 2013.
Despite a strong focus on social media by dealers and OEMs, this resource is rarely used by Millennials in the car buying process. Only 5 percent of Millennials—and one percent of all buyers—report using social networks for car shopping. Millennials are agnostic regarding brands or dealers having a social presence; 78 percent say their opinions would not change based on whether the brand or dealer had a social media presence.
Contrary to popular belief, Millennials are just as undecided as other generations when they begin the car shopping process, with 70 percent undecided on which make/model they are interested in purchasing. But by the time Millennials reach the dealership, they are significantly less likely to switch the make/model they have decided on: 70 percent end up purchasing the same make/model they had in mind when they first visited the dealership, compared to 66 percent of all car buyers.