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As the Car-Buying Process Moves Online, Satisfaction Jumps to an All-Time High

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Article Highlights

  1. A shift to digital has had a profound impact on the automotive industry.
  2. The good news for clients is that customer satisfaction with the car buying process is at an all-time high.
  3. Dealers agree that digital retailing is key to a long-term winning strategy – with 75% of dealers acknowledging that they won’t be able to survive without it.

We all know that 2020 created huge shifts in consumer habits and behaviors – from the way we shop, work, eat and even how our kids learn. Our world has become much more digital and companies have embraced contactless business models almost overnight. Of course, this shift to digital has had a profound impact on the automotive industry.

During the Cox Automotive Experience, I presented key insights from the Digitization of End-to-End Retail study.

The good news for clients is that customer satisfaction with the car buying process is at an all-time high. Not only are buyers spending less time at dealerships, they are benefitting from more efficient digital retailing programs.

  • 72% of car buyers were highly satisfied with the overall shopping experience – the highest of all time.
  • Average buyer only visits two dealerships in the car buying process – the lowest it’s ever been.
What Does This Mean for Dealers?

Consumers are making it clear that digital retailing is here to stay. In fact, 64% of shoppers want to do more of the purchase process online the next time they buy a vehicle. And dealers agree that digital retailing is key to a long-term winning strategy – with 75% of dealers acknowledging that they won’t be able to survive without it.

Other key findings from dealers:

  • 61% say digital retail efforts allow them to spend less time on a sale.
  • 53% believe it helps improve the customer experience.
  • 75% agree that digital retailing provides shoppers a more customized experience.
  • 80% of franchised dealers plan to offer more parts of the purchase process online in the next 1-2 years.
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How is Cox Automotive leading the way?

We know digital is the future. Last week, we launched Cox Automotive Complete Retail, a full suite of solutions that we offer through enhanced integrations delivering a more complete retail experience. Complete Retail showcases the breadth of our integrated products and solutions that enable our clients to deliver personalized connected experiences in an increasingly digital world.

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More Information

I was fortunate enough to share these insights at Cox Automotive Experience during my session titled This is the Way Forward: Digital Retailing Insights to Drive Success in 2021. Watch the recording below to learn more.

Be sure to check out the press release about our findings and download the full report.


Isabelle Helms is vice president of research and market intelligence at Cox Automotive.