New research from Auto Trader has revealed that irrespective of whether we’re looking for a brand new or used car, the smartphone is increasingly what we reach for when we want to find out more.
Indeed, the figure has risen to 41% in the last month, an eight-fold increase in just three years.
Using devices to research our new car – instead of just turning up to a showroom and collecting armfuls of brochures – is now a vital part of the car-buying process, thanks to the access we now have to a plethora of devices.
For example, 97% of all UK households now own a PC or laptop, 79% use a smartphone and 51% own a tablet, with a third of the population owning all three.
Smartphone and digital media presence is becoming much more important to the automotive industry
Over a thousand car buyers were asked about their purchasing decisions, with the data showing clearly the patterns in the type of device used at different stages of the process, with consumers on average using at least two devices during their research.
The research also revealed that smartphone use tends to be far more targeted than research done using a PC or laptop, with 27% of buyers now using a smartphone for their initial research, with this figure rising by the time a buyer has made a decision to visit a dealership.
It therefore makes sense for dealers to ensure that their websites are optimised for mobile use so they can they advertise their stock in front of the largest possible audience.
However, the results also show that laptops and PCs are considered to be better suited to researching a new car, as they enable buyers to compare and contrast brands, models and vehicle types, the larger screens making it easier to compare large amounts of information, across multiple sites.
A third of households own a laptop, tablet as well as a smartphone
Mobile devices, on the other hand, are better suited for seeking out specific information during shorter sessions.
Smartphones are more likely than other devices to be used at forecourts for validation purposes