KBB: Online Shoppers Look To Spend Less

by , Jul 20, 2010, 2:29 PM
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Kelley Blue Book's Market Intelligence Group says auto shoppers on KBB.com arrive with a mixed bag of news -- not so good -- for manufacturers: used is in, less is more, and incentives are out.

Although the company, which says it gets 15 million active vehicle shoppers per month, reports that three-quarters of them plan to buy a vehicle in the next six months, most aren't looking to spend as much as they have in the past and most will look at used cars and trucks. The company says 67% will buy used, versus 33% new.

The firm, whose data are based on random surveys of site visitors, says one-third of in-market car shoppers report that they plan to pay the entire cost of their next vehicle in cash, and that a big chunk of car shoppers couldn't care less about incentives. Eighty-two percent of used-car shoppers and 51% of new-car shoppers said incentives won't affect when they buy. And around the same proportions of shoppers said that incentives also are not affecting which vehicle makes and models they are looking at.

Survey respondents put just three vehicles in their consideration set, with 83% of them undecided on the make and model. The firm says most shoppers 34 years old and younger have no bias about import or domestic brands, but among all buyers, the keys are price and the triumvirate of durability, quality and reliability, with only 12% of buyers saying past experience with a brand was a top deciding factor.

As for money, most used-car shoppers said they will spend less than $15,000 on their next vehicle, while half of new-car shoppers said they plan to spend $25,000 or less. While the company says most shoppers to the site are not biting the incentive-baited hook, 0% financing is still the most appealing offer followed by low monthly payments for those who are likely to be influenced by such offers.

And to reach those shoppers, it makes sense for automakers to market online if KBB.com numbers hold true for the industry. The firm says 57% of respondents said they will research vehicle financing options online. Only 34% said they plan to obtain financing at the dealership at the time of purchase.

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