Car buyers like ordering but more unsatisfied overall

As consumers increasingly embrace online auto shopping in 2022, pre-ordering cars has emerged as a more satisfying option for consumers. At the same time, dealing with limited inventory and supply shortages caused by the pandemic, car buyers were increasingly frustrated with the overall experience. Two new industry studies show.

Pre-order vehicles accounted for one-fifth of new car sales in 2022, largely due to inventory shortages. That’s a nearly 90% year-over-year increase, according to Cox Automotive’s 2022 Car Buyer Journey Study. Additionally, just under 80% of the consumers who ordered this way were more satisfied with the experience, the survey found.

Similarly, S&P Global Mobility found that about 56% of US consumers wait more than a month for the delivery of the car they ordered, and 30% wait more than three months. Further breaking down, 61% of his luxury buyers were willing to wait a month or more for delivery, compared to 46% for mainstream brands. About 33% of luxury brand buyers said he was comfortable waiting more than three months, compared to 23% of mainstream brand buyers.

Both studies confirm that consumers are increasingly willing to order their cars online.

Cox Automotive found that nearly 90% of consumers who buy electric vehicles are willing to complete the transaction entirely online. He said 73% of new internal combustion engine buyers would like to try a full digital buying experience.

Isabelle Helms, Vice President of Research and Marketing Intelligence at Cox Automotive, said: “Dealers cite efficiency, ease of use and profitability. Consumers cite efficiency, transparency and an overall better experience.”

A survey by S&P Global found that 60% of customers expect their next car purchase to be completed entirely online. This is an 8% increase from before the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the survey revealed that 70% of US customers are more willing to work with dealers far from home as they offer more online buying and comparison options.

According to Treffen White, consulting director at S&P Global Mobility, this highlights the need for dealers to embrace digital selling technology and the buying innovation it brings.

“The dealer network of the past may not be the network the industry needs in the future,” says White. “Having the right digital tools is more important than the size and appearance of the showroom. This will impact how OEMs plan physical locations for their dealerships.”

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