Cox Automotive’s Car Buyer Journey Study Shows Growing Frustration with Car Buying Process

  • After peaking in 2020, vehicle purchase satisfaction will decline for the second year in a row in 2022.
  • High prices and tight inventories take a toll on the car-buying journey.
  • Shoppers, buyers and dealers agree that smart digital solutions make processes more efficient and improve overall satisfaction.

Atlanta, January 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — New research released today by Cox Automotive shows that satisfaction with the car-buying process will drop for the second year in a row in 2022. The 2022 Car Buyer Journey Study reveals that car buyers are frustrated by high prices, limited availability, and the time required to complete the process. Research shows that used-car buyers, who are often price-sensitive and face higher interest rates, are particularly dissatisfied with their 2022 experience.

Since 2009, Cox Automotive’s annual Car Buyer Journey Survey has comprehensively examined the entire car buying process. usa, aiming at consumer satisfaction. The study provides buyers of both new and used vehicles a complete picture through the many buying steps required to research, shop and complete a transaction, and also includes a survey of dealer staff and management. increase.

“The annual NADA tournament was held, Dallas We think it’s more important than ever to gather car dealers across the country later this month to showcase the current state of vehicle buying in America. ” Isabelle Helms, Vice President of Research and Market Intelligence at Cox Automotive. “Buying a vehicle is a complex transaction, requires financing, considers trade-in valuations, and requires a lot of research, but it doesn’t have to be frustrating for the consumer. With the right digital tools and systems in place. If so, buying a car is a highly satisfying activity, as efficient and streamlined as consumers want it to be.”

The 2022 Car Buyer Journey Study was created by surveying over 10,000 consumers (4,150 car buyers and 6,118 car buyers) who were considering buying a car in 2022. Dealers were also surveyed as part of the process. Most of the research will be conducted in the second half of 2022.

Key Takeaways from Cox Automotive’s 2022 Car Buyer Journey Study

1. In 2022, overall satisfaction with the car-buying process has declined.

A Cox Automotive study found that 61% of vehicle buyers in 2022 are very satisfied with the process, down from 66% the year before and well below the 2020 peak of 72%. The 2022 results were broadly in line with pre-pandemic levels, with new-car buyer satisfaction falling only slightly from 71% in 2021 to 70% in used-car purchases. satisfaction has dropped significantly. By 2021, 65% of used car buyers say they are very happy with the process. By 2022, that proportion has fallen to 58%.

Three factors impacted overall car purchase satisfaction: time spent, limited inventory, and high price.

  • Time spent: The amount of time spent in the vehicle purchasing process will skyrocket significantly in 2022. A typical vehicle buyer reports that in 2021 it took him 14 hours and 39 minutes from 12 hours and 27 minutes, an increase of 18%. Compared to 2021, he spent more than an hour more online shopping and researching vehicles, and about 20 minutes more time at the dealership.

    In the process, auto shoppers visited more websites, increasing from 4.0 sites in 2021 to an average of 4.9 sites. All four of his website categories – automakers, dealers, third-party and used car online retailers – saw an increase in shoppers using the site. Third-party sites played the largest role, with 79% of buyers visiting sites that: kelly blue book or Autotrader, following Cox Automotive’s site in the process, followed by dealership sites (59%), used car online retailers such as Carvana and Vroom (34%), and automaker websites (33%). followed. Interestingly, 13% of his buyers use the lender’s website when purchasing a recently purchased car, an increase of 86% from 2021.

  • Limited stock: In 2022, the shopping experience has become less about finding the perfect car than about finding any car. He said inventory was limited, and more than half of 2022 car buyers said it was the main reason they spent more time researching and shopping online. Last year’s buyers, especially new car buyers, also showed less loyalty to dealerships and car brands. In 2022, his 37% of new car buyers will buy a brand they’ve never owned before, down from his 31% in 2021. A record share of shoppers also considered both new and used vehicles last year: 64%, up from 55. % in 2021.
  • High price: In 2022, record high prices became the norm and buyers were adversely affected. In 2022, his 54% of buyers found prices higher than expected, compared to just 31% in 2021. And 63% of those buyers are paying more for the vehicle than they intended, compared to 48% the year before. Satisfaction with the price paid for all buyers also dropped from 63% in 2021 to 48%.

2. Vehicle orders increased significantly in 2022, and pre-ordered buyers were generally happier with the overall experience.

Vehicle buyers were much more likely to place pre-orders last year, largely due to a shortage of new vehicle inventory. Nearly one-fifth of new car sales last year were pre-orders, an 89% increase over the previous year. More dealers offer this solution, and 74% of pre-ordered consumers said they chose that route to get the key features they needed and rule out what they didn’t.

Additionally, most consumers (79%) who ordered a vehicle were generally more satisfied with their experience compared to their previous lot-buying experience. They also showed that they were more likely to pre-order again when they returned to the market. Buyers who ordered directly from manufacturers were more expensive. Research has shown that people who place orders with automakers have shorter wait times and are more engaged with vehicle tracking and the entire process.

3. More buyers are choosing F&I products for their 2022 purchases and relying on trusted lenders.

Last year, 67% of vehicle buyers said they purchased an F&I product, up from 59% in 2021. More products were purchased, averaging 1.6, up from his 1.3 products the year before. Shoppers continue to choose products like extended warranties, his GAP insurance to help protect their auto loans, and wheel and tire warranty plans.

With auto loan rates rising in 2022, the top reason to choose a lender was, predictably, related to the interest rates on the loans offered. Of note, however, was the increasing importance of “trust in lenders” and general knowledge of lenders. This was especially true for Gen Z shoppers and “mostly digital” shoppers. In fact, in 2022, trust in lenders was more important than an easy loan application process.

When it comes to fundraising, many buyers want to increase their online activity. However, while 55% of his buyers checked his credit score online, only 36% of him calculated monthly payments online. Thirty percent applied for credit online, and even fewer signed papers online last year, at just 12%. A Cox Automotive analyst sees this as an opportunity for dealers and consumers, as more of his F&I activity online increases satisfaction and streamlines the experience.

Four. EV buyers see digital retail and e-commerce as a way to save time, while buyers who opt for traditional powertrains see it as a way to achieve the best deals and reduce purchasing pressure. I feel there is.

Online is the preferred route for EV buyers. According to the latest survey, 87% of EV buyers are open to the idea of ​​buying entirely online (a true e-commerce solution), while only 73% of new conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle buyers are It has been shown to be open to complete e-commerce solutions.

Looking ahead, 80% of EV buyers say their next purchase will be a mostly online process, compared to 61% of new ICE buyers. New ICE buyers see e-commerce solutions as a way to reduce purchasing pressure and achieve the best possible deal while spending less time at the dealership. EV buyers, on average, are younger and more tech-savvy, and find digital solutions to save them time and make the process easier and more convenient.

Five. Shoppers, buyers and dealers agree. Digital solutions improve the car buying process.

Nearly all auto dealers (87%) said digital retail solutions had a positive impact on at least one area of ​​their business, resulting in reduced time spent, increased efficiency, benefits in sales, profits and customer relationships. indicates that

Importantly, 81% of shoppers in 2022 said their online activity improved their overall shopping experience. According to buyers, online transactions save time, with 78% of buyers believing that an e-commerce approach provides greater transparency around pricing, and 86% of them wanting less interaction with dealer sales representatives. He said he would be done with it.

“Mostly digital” shoppers, who completed 50% or more of their buying process online, were the most satisfied of all shoppers. Research shows that 67% of Mostly Digital buyers are satisfied with their buying experience, while 49% of Light Digital buyers take less than 20% of his steps online. Most digital buyers are more likely than light digital buyers to feel that the dealer has made a good deal. They were also happy with the purchase process and the length of time spent at the dealership.

Cox Automotive predicts that over the next year, half of car buyers will use at least one digital tool during the buying process.

Learn more about the 2022 Car Buyer Journey Study and Cox Automotive’s commitment to transforming how consumers and dealers interact in the retail process, including the launch of Retail360, an industry-first solution that helps accelerate retail transactions. Please see here for more information. Visit the Cox Automotive Newsroom or contact a member of the Cox Automotive PR team.

About Cox Automotive

Cox Automotive is the world’s largest automotive service and technology provider. Cox Automotive Leverages Largest First-Party Data Powered by 2.3 Billion Online Interactions Annually to Tailor Leading Solutions for Auto Shoppers, Automakers, Dealers, Retailers, Lenders and Fleet Owners doing. The company has more than 25,000 employees on five continents and a family of trusted brands, including Autotrader.®Dealer Truck®, kelly blue book®Mannheim®Next Gear Capital and vAuto®Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., a privately held company. AtlantaA US-based company with $21 billion in revenue. Visit or@Cox AutomotiveFollow CoxAutoInc on Twitter, Facebook and Cox-Automotive-Inc on LinkedIn.

Source Cox Automotive

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