The latest Automotive Finance Insight Report from ACA Research maps the automotive customer journey steps and timings, featuring the path to purchase for new and second hand vehicles and related vehicle finance. Critically, the research highlights the growing need for dealerships and finance providers to increase their focus on digital engagement with customers.
Generally the automotive vehicle purchase journey for the vehicle and finance can take between 5 and 12 weeks and encompasses the following steps:
1. Develop a shopping list of vehicle brands: approx. 1-3 months prior to purchase.
2. Cull the shortlist: 4-7 weeks before purchase.
3. Test drive vehicles: 2-4 weeks before purchase.
4. Finalise vehicle choice: on average 1-3 weeks before purchase.
Interestingly, whilst nearly half of consumers start considering finance lenders within 3 weeks prior to purchasing a vehicle, more than half will not make a final decision on their choice of finance lender until the last week of their journey.
As in previous years, the report shows the size of the opportunity to influence consumers in the initial stages of the vehicle purchase journey through digital channels. As many as 89% of consumers are looking for vehicle information online - on car manufacturer and dealer sites, finance websites and through social media. The research also shows that while 52% obtain information from dealerships the reliance on sales people is declining.
This implies that the average automotive customer experience includes the consumer have conducting more research prior to entering the dealership and hence are closer to finalising vehicle choice. The findings indicate the growing need for dealerships and finance providers to optimise their digital engagement with customers and deliver a more seamless and integrated experience across all stages of the customer journey. This could include providing more personalised information online, more virtual demonstrations and more sites that provide an opportunity for comparison shopping.
The statistics reported in this blog post are taken from ACA Research’s Automotive Finance Insight, which is based on a nationally representative sample of 1,658 Australian consumers who bought a vehicle costing at least $7,500 since 2013. Of these, 848 respondents did not use finance and completed a short survey and the remaining 810 respondents used finance to purchase their vehicle and completed the full survey about their vehicle and finance-purchasing journey.
To gain a better understanding about the journey to automotive purchase (as well as the vital factor of finance) then the full automotive finance research report can provide you with the latest detailed insights about purchasing behaviors and decisions, trends and attitudes regarding automotive finance products and market penetration of the leading finance providers. The report is available to purchase at a cost of $5,950. If you would like a copy, or a free snapshot, please click here.