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Car-buyers return to the showroom and also back online purchasing

More people expect to visit a dealership as part of the car-buying process than from a decade previously, according to a new report that CitNOW published on 12th June.

The research found 54% of customers expect to visit a dealership as part of researching their next car, compared to 48% in 2010.

The latest consumer research undertaken by CitNOW was unveiled at Car Dealer’s Expo CDX in June, where the video platform provider was a headline sponsor, held a keynote hosted by Carol Fairchild and ran a workshop. During the day a stand was present to demonstrate its suite of products to show-goers.

A key finding of the research was that one third (32.5%) of those asked, said they would consider buying their next vehicle entirely online, showing how the consumer mindset is becoming more comfortable with online purchasing across a greater variety of goods.

The willingness to both purchase online and visit the showroom is perhaps reflective of the same trend – an increase in the trust consumers have in automotive retailers.

Fuelled by a more transparent process which in turn has led to the inevitable boost in service levels, customer confidence seems to be in the ascendant. In part generated by the increased use of video providing customers with an honest view of the vehicle under consideration, including mileage and any imperfections, personal video messaging has certainly provided a huge stepping stone in creating more trust in the sector among consumers.

This is further backed up in the research which also found interest in online video reviews as part of the research process had almost doubled (13% to 25%). Meanwhile, more than two-thirds (67%) said they want video as part of the purchase process.

Consumers also revealed that more than half (56%) had already researched the vehicle before making a visit to the dealership to take a closer look.  Underlining the importance of the customer experience both online and on-site, almost a third (35%) visit multiple dealerships before making a final decision.

The research also uncovered a boost to manufacturer websites which now form a larger part of the consumer purchase process with 42% of respondents visiting brand sites when choosing their next vehicle today, compared to 10 years ago when just 25% did so.

You can download the full Evolution of the Car Buyer report here.