Online car shopping gets better reviews than visiting a dealer

Progressive cut the results of a survey of 501 people who personally bought cars at dealerships and online and rendered the results into some relevant searches and graphs. There are two major takeaways, based on 251 people who have completed a transaction entirely online or through a dealer’s website, and 250 people who have only done face-to-face business. The first is that online shopping, still a small percentage of overall car sales, is growing rapidly in acceptance and actual transactions. And remember a few years ago when there was a disturbing feeling that millennials preferred their phones to cars, and when there were so many more options they didn’t see the need to own a car? No more. The second takeaway is that millennials are a major part of online sales growth.

The last two years have forced a ton of brick and mortar business online, including dealerships. Some people canonball deep into the internet with everything from test drives to digital paperwork at home. Some people create an ugly web page for a salesman’s son and list the old inventory so that there are not always photos. Overall, though, online shoppers are more excited about the process than showroom floor shoppers. 78% are more satisfied with buying a car online than buyers, only 58% of personal buyers have registered the same pleasure. Which also carries through trade-in and financing. Eight percent of online shoppers were highly satisfied with the trade-in process, versus 57 percent of dealership visitors; 70% of online shoppers gave the highest score in the financing process, with 53% of guests asking to “enter the office” and wait while talking to the sales finance manager.

Of the survey respondents who received the most online business, Carvana earned 21% of the respondents.

As of youth vs. age, less than 27% of buyers under the age of 40 have bought a car from a dealership. Over the age of 57, about 80% of buyers prefer to look at someone’s face (and mask) before depositing money. Between 40 and 57, Progressive says the split was about 50/50. Dealer visitors cited driving opportunities as the main reason for going to the storefront, where for online shoppers, finding the car they wanted was the number one reason to go digital.

See full results on progressive site. Another fancy fact was that online shoppers do a lot more research and more huggling. More than half of online shoppers checked out three or more sites before making a purchase, 24% more than individual shoppers, and 15% of those hardcore online shoppers were more likely to argue for a price than those who visited less than three sites.

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