Motorists Turn to Social Media to Inform Choices

Research by CarGurus has found Motorists are increasingly using smartphones and social media to inform their next car purchase – even in the showroom.

The latest data has shown the use of mobile phones on the forecourt has increased by 12% (from 59% to 71%) since 2022.

Even during conversations with dealers, buyers are using their phones to compare vehicles for sale, check reviews and look at specifications. Alexandra Howerter, senior consumer insights analyst at CarGurus, said: “Smartphones are helping consumers become savvier when looking to buy, allowing them to come armed with all the data and hold their own in negotiations. This levels the playing field and alleviates some of the stress and anxiety around buying a car.”

Social Media Influence

The most popular social media channels when car shopping are YouTube (41%) and Facebook (37%), followed by Instagram (21%) and Twitter (13%).

Howerter added: “Social media is also a great way to learn more about the car you want to buy, however, consumers must also be cautious about which sources they choose to trust.”

The CarGurus study, details how consumers’ attitudes have changed towards the car-buying process over the last two years. The number of buyers using instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp as an initial point of contact with dealers has almost doubled, growing from 5% in 2020 to 9% in 2022.

“Customers are likely to contact dealers online ahead of visiting in person. This is especially true for people who buy new cars, with 45% contacting the dealer online ahead of an in-person visit. The study also found 42% of people aged 24-32 years contact a dealership online first.”

Emotional Process

The research also revealed the top three reasons for buying a car, which were that people saved money during lockdowns (24%), moved to a new house (22%) or got a new job (19%).

The top considerations for buyers when purchasing a car are budget (32%), reliability (29%) and driving feel (25%). However, buyers also experience an array of emotions – and while 55% claim that car buying is fun, a further 53% say it is stressful.