Mobile Car Shopping is Becoming More Mainstream

A Nielson Study Presented by Cars.com

Mobile car shop­ping is evolv­ing, accord­ing to an inde­pen­dent study con­duct­ed by Nielsen, a lead­ing glob­al infor­ma­tion and research firm, on behalf of Cars.com.

Con­duct­ed in June of 2012, the Niel­son study sur­veyed over 1,500 smart­phone, advanced fea­ture phone and tablet users who report­ed using auto­mo­tive appli­ca­tions and/or mobile web­sites in their vehi­cle shop­ping process.

Here are a few key take­aways:

  • Uni­ver­sal adop­tion: While a sim­i­lar study from 2011 found the aver­age mobile shop­per to be young, more afflu­ent and like­ly shop­ping for a new vehi­cle, this year’s study found mobile usage to be more main­stream.  A high­er pro­por­tion of old­er shop­pers are using mobile com­pared with the 2011, par­tic­u­lar­ly due to an increase from 20% to 26% in the pro­por­tion of mobile shop­pers over the age of 55, and income is more diverse, with more shop­pers report­ing house­hold income below $100,000 com­pared with the pre­vi­ous study.  A high­er pro­por­tion of used and cer­ti­fied pre-owned shop­pers are also using mobile dur­ing their search.
  • Cross-plat­form usage: In 2011, smart­phones saw the high­est pro­por­tion of own­er­ship, and while that remains true in 2012, 48% of mobile car shop­pers also own a tablet, ver­sus just 28% last year.  While shop­pers use mobile devices through­out the pur­chase process, usage of a par­tic­u­lar device increas­es for cer­tain activ­i­ties: tablets, like desk­top and lap­top com­put­ers, saw high­er usage for research-inten­sive activ­i­ties, such as look­ing up vehi­cle infor­ma­tion and con­duct­ing com­par­isons, while smart­phone usage increased for activ­i­ties that typ­i­cal­ly take place clos­er to pur­chase, such as con­tact­ing a deal­er­ship via phone or text, scan­ning VINs for spe­cif­ic vehi­cle infor­ma­tion and– check-ins. In fact, more than 4 in 10 mobile shop­pers report­ed using their device while on the deal­er­ship lot.
  • Apps vs. Mobile Web­sites: About 41% of mobile shop­pers use auto­mo­tive apps dur­ing their shop­ping process, com­pared with 99% of users who access mobile web­sites. Of shop­pers who use both apps and web­sites, how­ev­er, near­ly half pre­fer using apps on their smart­phones, while 1 in 3 pre­fer apps when using a tablet.

To learn more, down­load the full Nielsen insights piece. The experts at Cars.com can be reached at [email protected].



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