October 10, 2006, 12:00 AM

Online auto shoppers refine their search criteria

A new study from Capgemini finds that online vehicle shoppers in the U.S. and in emerging markets such as China are narrowing their number of web searches.

 

It’s no secret that most vehicle shoppers are using the Internet to help find their next new or used car, truck or sport utility vehicle.

But a new study from Capgemini finds that online vehicle shoppers in the U.S. and in emerging markets such as China are narrowing their number of web searches. The survey, which included responses from car shoppers in the U.S., United Kingdom, France, Germany and China, also reveals that automotive manufacturers need to sustain full-featured web sites with deep content and speedy research tools if they expect to draw more traffic.

More than 80% of respondents said they are using the web during their automotive shopping process, which is twice as many as in 2004 and more than four times as many as in 2002, says Capgemini. The survey also notes that most car shoppers are narrowing their search to fewer web sites. In 2006, vehicle shoppers are visiting about five automotive sites, compared with between eight and 10 sites two years ago. “The web features they look for include pricing information, vehicle comparison capabilities and a full range of product information and vehicle configurators,” says Nick Gill, global automotive leader for Capgemini. “More than one-third say they are less likely to buy a specific brand or from a specific dealer if the desired features are not available.”

A timely response from a manufacturer or dealer is also appreciated whether or not the online shopper lives in the U.S. or overseas. “Because they are heavy web users it may not be surprising that Chinese consumers are particularly sensitive when it comes to the response time they expect from companies to their online inquiries,” says Gill. “61% of Chinese respondents expect to receive a response immediately or within one hour from a dealer or manufacturer.”

 

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