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CHICAGO — Nov. 30, 2011 — Mobile car shoppers are younger, affluent and more likely to be shopping for a new car, according to “Mobile Web and App Usage for Automotive Shoppers,” a study commissioned by Cars.com, the premier online resource for buying and selling new and used cars, and conducted by Nielsen, a leading global information and research firm. The online survey of more than 1,600 recent automotive purchasers and intenders reveals how consumers are using their mobile devices to complement their search throughout the car shopping process – including while they’re right on the dealership lot.
“It’s no secret that mobile devices have completely changed the way consumers shop, making it crucial that retailers – automotive or otherwise – understand who mobile shoppers are and how they’re using their devices differently than their laptops or desktops,” said Sharon Knitter, senior director, Mobile. “This study informs our ability to deliver a great car shopping experience to our users no matter what screen they’re visiting us on, as well as making us a better partner to our dealer customers and advertisers as they implement their own mobile marketing strategies.”
The survey results found that mobile shoppers are younger, with individuals 34 years of age or younger representing 40 percent of the respondents. Most are in the market for a new car (73 percent of recent purchasers bought a new vehicle) and are more affluent, with 79 percent reporting a household income over $50,000. The majority recently purchased or plans to buy a vehicle priced between $20,000 and $40,000, with an average price of $28,419.
Smartphone users, which make up 83 percent of the respondents, are most likely using mobile apps, while tablet users, which represent 28 percent of the respondents (device usage not mutually exclusive), are more likely to access web sites. Mobile car shoppers are also using their devices to make decisions – 90 percent of respondents had not yet decided upon exact vehicle, and 93 percent were undecided upon a dealership when they began engaging mobile tools in the car-shopping process.
The survey also captured the activities in which mobile car shoppers are most often engaging, including viewing photos (77 percent), finding dealership info (76 percent), reading expert/consumer vehicle reviews (74 percent), comparing vehicle prices (71 percent), searching listings (67 percent) and reading dealer reviews (51 percent). Users are engaging in these activities at home (92 percent), at the office (66 percent) and on the go (64 percent outside, 59 percent from a restaurant/café/bar and 54 percent waiting in line). Remarkably, 53 percent of respondents revealed they use their devices while on the dealership lot – a statistic that increases to 57 percent when looking at recent purchasers. Most mobile car shoppers have also taken action on ads, with automotive advertising gaining the most engagement (40 percent) behind restaurants/dining (50 percent) and entertainment (41 percent).
“What hasn’t changed with the growth of mobile usage is the importance of mastering the basics of selling a car,” said Knitter. “Smart phone users are viewing photos, searching inventory, researching prices, looking up dealer contact information and reading reviews. That means that many issues, such as poor merchandising, incorrect contact information and customer complaints, can be amplified for the mobile shopper, sending them elsewhere.”
Cars.com was recently named the “Best Overall Customer Experience” by Keynote Systems, the leader in Internet and mobile cloud marketing. Cars.com is an online destination for car shoppers that offers information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. Cars.com offers thousands of new and used vehicle listings, consumer reviews, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and many other tools. Cars.com put millions of car buyers in control of their shopping process with the information they needs to make confident buying decisions.
Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (N.Y.SE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (N.Y.SE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (N.Y.SE: MNI), Tribune Company and The Washington Post Company (N.Y.SE: WPO).
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B2B Public Relations Manager