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Car buyers on mobile are lower in purchasing funnel: report

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June 23, 2015

Millennial shoppers dominate the amount of mobile visitors on Edmunds.com

Millennial shoppers dominate the amount of mobile visitors on Edmunds.com

Car buyers on mobile are more likely to look at a specific car model and at local inventory listings, according to new research from Edmunds.com.

More automotive retailers are turning to mobile to reach the plethora of consumers tapping their smartphones to conduct research while on-the-go, request price quotes and communicate with dealers via text messaging. Edmunds.com’s study also shows the top brands researched by those on iOS and Android platforms, proving that iOS users tend to skew more towards luxury car brands.

“The most important takeaway – and one of the most surprising takeaways – is that mobile shoppers are as seriously interested in buying a car as wired shoppers are,” said Seth Berkowitz, president of Edmunds.com, Santa Monica, CA. “We would expect that mobile visitors would mostly use their phones for quick information look-ups, but in fact they view as many or more pages as wired visitors do in a shorter amount of time.”

Specific research
While desktop users may use their computers for initial research and general information related to the car-purchasing process, consumers on mobile have a tendency to use their smartphones to look up specific vehicle models. This suggests that mobile is an imperative step in the buying experience that cannot be overlooked.

Although smartphone users spend less time on Edmunds.com’s mobile site than do wired consumers, they do view just as many, if not more, pages during that period. The brand’s research showed that 79 percent of its mobile visitors research at least one specific car model on the site, as opposed to 65 percent on desktops or laptops.

More importantly, mobile consumers look at local inventory listings at rates more than 30 percent higher than desktop users. This number posits that smartphone visitors are typically lower in the shopping funnel of car-buying, meaning that there is an optimal opportunity to grab those customers’ interests and leverage it in a way that leads to future sales.

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Mobile shoppers are interested in researching Toyota models

Another takeaway for car marketers is the difference between iOS and Android users’ shopping preferences. Edmunds.com undertook an analysis of page views for each car brand, finding that Toyota ranked number one for consumers on both platforms.

However, three luxury vehicle brands, Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, grabbed spots on the list of ten most researched brands for iOS consumers. BMW was the only luxury company to rank on the Android list.

Honda was also more favorable to those browsing on iPhones and iPads.

The research suggests that luxury car marketers may be best-suited marketing more towards iOS platforms, as evidenced by consumers’ interest.

Mobile shopper demographics
Edmunds.com’s research discovered that 55 percent of its smartphone visitors fall into the millennial demographic and are between the ages of 18 and 34. In comparison, millennials make up 26 percent of wired users.

Another recent study by the brand showed that 80 percent of millennials used their smartphones to aid them during at least one car shopping activity.

Car ads on mobile are also falling onto receptive ears, as smartphone users are 2.5 times more likely to click on an ad than a visitor on the desktop site.

Used vehicles are a major draw for consumers browsing on mobile, with 53 percent searching for used cards as opposed to 38 percent of wired customers.

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The ease of researching on mobile is likely an attractive feature for millennials

Ultimately, car marketers have their best-yet opportunity to effectively leverage mobile advertisements and mobile sites to create fans out of their millennial visitors. Edmunds.com has been making strides in the mobile sector since its traffic on the digital platform has more than doubled since 2012.

Last October, the brand acquired texting service CarCode to boost its mobile strategy by enabling users to interact one-on-one with car dealers via messaging (see story).

“We have worked to develop and integrate products and services specifically for mobile, like the texting integration into our mobile app, to help all our customers make the most out of their shopping and buying experience,” Mr. Berkowitz said.

“We’ve been able to use our mobile offering in conjunction with our desktop offering to maximize our interactions with customers at every point of the shopping process to create a well-rounded experience.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Alex Samuely is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at alex@mobilemarketer.com.

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