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Consumer perceptions and priorities around car buying

A new report by Trader shows that 97% of consumers consider their vehicle purchase to be among the most important purchases in their life. So what should automotive retailers focus on to ensure the consumer experience is top-notch?

The information collected shows that consumers feel anxious when buying a vehicle due primarily to the price of the vehicle (63%), negotiations (49%), and getting a fair trade-in value (36%). And for many consumers, price (77%), fuel economy (49%), safety (45%), and the brand of the vehicle (40%) are key factors for them to consider when buying.

Consumers also like to feel they received a good price (69%), followed by getting a good discount for trading-in the current vehicle (61%), and lower interest/finance rates (57%), which are all among the factors that help encourage buying. 

How much research do consumers do in advance before buying a vehicle? Overall, 92% will hover between a moderate amount (36%) to a significant amount of research (56%). So they are prepared.

Dealerships can also help boost their price confidence by putting more attention on certain key factors. For example, the price comparison tool is a price confidence booster for 81% of consumers, followed by comparison shopping on an automotive marketplace (77%), researching the price on an OEM website (69%), and researching the price on a dealership website (66%). Speaking to friends (57%) and speaking to family members (53%) also helps. 

Trader also included some of the reasons why consumers negotiate the price: because they always negotiate (48%), they want a lower price (33%), they want a great deal (33%), they negotiated successfully in the past (28%), and they knew the vehicle was above market value (27%). 

Overall, data from the report shows that 84% of consumers are satisfied with the purchase price of their vehicle. Specifically, 44% are very satisfied, 40% are somewhat satisfied, and 10% neutral or dissatisfied. Only 5% are somewhat to very dissatisfied.

For the consumers that are not satisfied with the price, 38% thought they were not good enough at negotiating the price, while 30% believed they did not do enough research and comparison shopping in advance. Twenty-five per cent said they went over budget, 18% did not ask for a lower price, and 13% did not know what the fair market price for the vehicle was. 

Finally, the features consumers are more likely to pay more for include good fuel economy (83%), a variety of features and amenities (74%), a specific brand (73%), low insurance rates (65%), style and overall look (63%), and performance (58%). Low interest/financing rates are also important for 49% of consumers. 

Trader partnered with the Angus Reid Group to survey more than 1,000 Canadian car buyers, and created an infographic illustrating the data it found, which was pulled from its 2021 Canadian Car Buyer Perceptions and Priorities report.

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