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

 New analysis launched as we speak by Cox Automotive reveals that satisfaction with the automotive shopping for course of declined in 2022 for the second straight 12 months. The 2022 Automobile Purchaser Journey Research reveals automobile consumers have been pissed off with excessive costs, restricted availability, and the period of time required to finish the method. Used-vehicle consumers, who are sometimes extra value delicate and face larger rates of interest, have been significantly unhappy with the expertise in 2022, the analysis signifies.

Since 2009, Cox Automotive’s annual Automobile Purchaser Journey Research has supplied a complete take a look at the general automobile shopping for course of in the USA, with a watch towards client satisfaction. The examine gives a holistic view – the journey by way of researching, purchasing and the numerous buy steps required to finish the deal – for each new- and used-vehicle consumers, and in addition consists of analysis amongst dealership workers and administration.

“With the annual NADA conference opening in Dallas later this month and bringing collectively auto sellers from throughout the nation, we predict it’s extra essential than ever to showcase the present state of car shopping for in America,” stated Isabelle Helms, vp of Analysis and Market Intelligence at Cox Automotive. “Whereas shopping for a automobile is an advanced transaction, with financing required, trade-in valuations to think about and loads of analysis required, it doesn’t need to be irritating for the patron. With the precise digital instruments and methods in place, automotive shopping for is usually a extremely satisfying exercise, and as environment friendly and streamlined as customers need it to be.”

The 2022 Automobile Purchaser Journey Research was created from surveying greater than 10,000 customers who have been out there for a automobile in 2022 – 4,150 automobile consumers and 6,118 automobile consumers. As a part of the method, sellers have been additionally surveyed. Many of the analysis was carried out through the second half of 2022.

Key Takeaways from the 2022 Cox Automotive Automobile Purchaser Journey Research

1. Total satisfaction with the automotive shopping for journey declined in 2022.

In response to Cox Automotive analysis, 61% of car consumers in 2022 have been extremely glad with the method, down from 66% the 12 months earlier and nicely under the height of 72% in 2020. Ends in 2022 have been typically in step with pre-pandemic ranges. Satisfaction for new-vehicle consumers declined solely modestly to 70%, down from 71% in 2021, whereas satisfaction amongst used-vehicle consumers fell considerably. In 2021, 65% of used-vehicle consumers famous they have been extremely glad with the method. In 2022, the proportion dropped to 58%.

Three parts impacted total automotive shopping for satisfaction: time spent, restricted stock and excessive costs.

  • Time spent: The time spent within the automobile shopping for course of jumped considerably in 2022, with the everyday automobile purchaser reporting the method took 14 hours and 39 minutes, up from 12 hours and 27 minutes in 2021, a rise of 18%. Time spent on-line purchasing and researching autos elevated by greater than 1 hour in comparison with 2021, whereas time on the dealership elevated by roughly 20 minutes.

    Car consumers visited extra web sites through the course of, a median of 4.9 websites, up from 4.0 in 2021. All 4 web site classes – automaker, seller, third-party, and used automobile on-line retailers – noticed a rise in consumers utilizing their websites. Third-party websites performed the most important function, with 79% of consumers visiting websites reminiscent of Kelley Blue Guide or Autotrader, each Cox Automotive websites, through the course of, adopted by dealership websites (59%), used automobile on-line retailers reminiscent of Carvana and Vroom (34%), and automaker web sites (33%). Apparently, 13% of consumers used a lender web site when searching for their most up-to-date automobile buy, an 86% improve from 2021.

  • Restricted stock: In 2022, the purchasing expertise turned much less about discovering the PERFECT automobile and extra about discovering ANY automobile. Greater than half of the automobile consumers in 2022 who reported restricted stock stated that was a key driver of the elevated time spent researching and purchasing on-line. Additionally, consumers confirmed much less loyalty to dealerships and automobile manufacturers final 12 months, particularly new-vehicle consumers. In 2022, 37% of new-vehicle consumers bought a model that they had by no means owned earlier than, up from 31% in 2021. A file share of consumers additionally thought-about BOTH new and used autos final 12 months: 64%, which is up considerably from 55% in 2021.
  • Excessive costs: Document excessive costs have been commonplace in 2022, and consumers have been negatively impacted. In 2022, 54% of consumers discovered costs to be larger than anticipated, in comparison with solely 31% in 2021. And 63% of those consumers paid greater than they supposed for a automobile, in comparison with 48% the earlier 12 months. For all consumers, satisfaction with the value paid declined as nicely, to 48%, down from 63% in 2021.

2. Car ordering elevated considerably in 2022, and consumers who pre-ordered have been typically extra glad with the general expertise.

Due largely to new-vehicle stock shortages, automobile consumers have been much more prone to have pre-ordered final 12 months. Almost 1 in 5 new automobile gross sales final 12 months was a pre-ordered automobile, an 89% improve 12 months over 12 months. Extra sellers supplied this answer, and 74% of customers who pre-ordered indicated they selected that path to get the important thing options they wished and exclude these they didn’t.

Additional, most customers (79%) who ordered autos have been typically extra glad with the expertise, in comparison with a earlier expertise of shopping for off the lot. Additionally they indicated they’d seemingly pre-order once more when returning to the market. Amongst consumers who pre-ordered autos, total satisfaction was larger amongst those that ordered instantly from the automaker, versus ordering by way of a dealership. The analysis signifies that those that ordered from the automaker had shorter ready durations, with higher automobile monitoring and total engagement by way of the method.

3. Extra consumers chosen F&I merchandise with their purchases in 2022 and leaned into lenders they belief.

Final 12 months, 67% of car consumers indicated they bought an F&I product, up from 59% in 2021. Extra merchandise have been bought as nicely, a median of 1.6, a rise from 1.3 merchandise the 12 months earlier. Consumers proceed to decide on merchandise reminiscent of prolonged warranties, GAP insurance coverage to assist defend auto loans, and wheel & tire safety plans.

With auto mortgage charges rising in 2022, the highest cause for choosing a lender was predictably tied to the mortgage charge supplied. Notably, although, was a rising significance of ‘belief within the lender’ and normal familiarity with the lender. This was significantly true amongst Gen Z consumers and ‘Largely Digital’ consumers. In truth, in 2022, belief within the lender was extra essential than a straightforward mortgage utility course of.

Relating to securing financing, many consumers point out they need extra on-line exercise. Nevertheless, whereas 55% of consumers checked their credit score scores on-line, solely 36% calculated month-to-month funds on-line; 30% utilized for credit score on-line, and fewer nonetheless, solely 12%, signed paperwork on-line final 12 months. That is seen by the Cox Automotive analysts as a chance for sellers and customers, as extra on-line F&I exercise improves satisfaction and streamlines the expertise.

4. EV consumers see digital retailing and eCommerce as a method to save time, whereas consumers selecting conventional powertrains really feel it’s the avenue to attain the most effective deal and scale back shopping for strain.

For EV consumers, on-line is the popular route. The most recent analysis signifies that 87% of EV consumers are open to the thought of shopping for absolutely on-line – a real eCommerce answer – whereas solely 73% of consumers of recent, conventional, inner combustion engine (ICE) autos are open to totally eCommerce options.

Trying ahead, 80% of EV consumers point out their subsequent buy can be a largely on-line course of, in comparison with 61% of recent ICE consumers. New ICE consumers see eCommerce options as an avenue to scale back shopping for strain and obtain the most effective deal whereas spending much less time on the dealership. EV consumers, who on common are youthful and extra tech-savvy, really feel digital options can save time and make the method simpler and extra handy.

5. Consumers, consumers and sellers agree: Digital options make the automotive shopping for journey higher.

Almost all auto sellers – 87% – point out that digital retailing options have positively impacted no less than one space of their enterprise, decreasing time spent, bettering effectivity, and in addition benefitting gross sales, income, and relationships with prospects.

Importantly, 81% of consumers in 2022 famous that on-line actions enhance the general shopping for expertise. Transacting on-line saves time, in keeping with consumers, and 78% of consumers imagine an eCommerce method gives higher transparency round pricing, and 86% say it permits them to work together with fewer dealership gross sales personnel.

‘Largely Digital’ consumers – those that full greater than 50% of the acquisition course of steps on-line – have been essentially the most glad amongst all consumers. The analysis signifies that 67% of Largely Digital consumers have been glad with the shopping for expertise in comparison with 49% of Gentle Digital consumers, who carry out lower than 20% of the steps on-line. Largely Digital consumers are additionally extra seemingly than Gentle Digital consumers to really feel the dealership gave them a superb deal. They have been additionally extra glad with the period of time spent through the shopping for course of and on the dealership.

Within the 12 months forward, Cox Automotive forecasts that half of all automobile consumers will have interaction with no less than one digital device through the buy course of.

For extra details about the 2022 Automobile Purchaser Journey Research and to study extra about how Cox Automotive is working remodel the way in which customers and sellers work together through the retail course of – together with the launch of Retail360, an industry-first answer that can assist make retail transactions sooner, extra personalised, extra correct and extra environment friendly for everybody concerned – go to the Cox Automotive Newsroom or contact a member of the Cox Automotive PR staff.

About Cox Automotive
Cox Automotive is the world’s largest automotive companies and expertise supplier. Fueled by the most important breadth of first-party information fed by 2.3 billion on-line interactions a 12 months, Cox Automotive tailors main options for automotive consumers, automakers, sellers, retailers, lenders and fleet homeowners. The corporate has 25,000+ workers on 5 continents and a household of trusted manufacturers that features Autotrader®, Dealertrack®, Kelley Blue Guide®, Manheim®, NextGear Capital™ and vAuto®. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., a privately-owned, Atlanta-based firm with $21 billion in income. Go to or join through @CoxAutomotive on Twitter, CoxAutoInc on Fb or Cox-Automotive-Inc on LinkedIn.

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