Progressive recently released a new report, “Consumers Embrace Online Car Buying” with survey data revealing consumer car shopping and buying behavior. In the past five years, online car buying has become a growing trend that more and more Americans are taking advantage of due to its haggle-free process and time-saving transactions.
The survey found that:
- Online car buyers report high satisfaction with buying, trading in, and financing their cars
- Nearly four out of five online car shoppers (78%) report feeling highly satisfied with their shopping experience, versus 58% for in-person buyers
- 66.5% of people who bought online traded in a vehicle compared to 49.6% of people who bought at a dealer traded in a vehicle
- Of those who traded in a vehicle online, 79.6% were highly satisfied (97% were highly or somewhat satisfied combined); Compared to trading it at a dealer 56.5% were highly satisfied (93.5% were highly or somewhat satisfied combined)
- Online car sales companies are posting remarkable growth – Vroom’s unit sales were up 123% year over year in their 2021 third-quarter report
- 25% of online car buyers ranked being able to find the exact car they wanted via online sites as their number one reason for shopping online.
This may indeed be the case, and my recent experience in trying to purchase a new Ford Maverick has been primarily online. However, as I have started shopping, I have found that if dealers aren't truthful with their actual inventory, shopping online is pointless. Bait and switch is a tactic as old as sales itself, and simply unfair to consumers.
How will the shift in car buying continue to change over the next several years? The future is bright for online car marketplaces and improvements will only continue to support the trend of online car buying.