Good news for Edmunds.com, KBB.com, and AutoTrader.com; not so good news for [automaker brand name here].com.
J.D. Power & Associates Web Site Performance Tools Report says that among the 77% of new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet in the shopping process, more than two-thirds (68%) visit at least one manufacturer Web site in the six months leading up to purchase, while a larger percentage -- nearly eight in 10 -- visit at least one third-party Web site.
The study, a collaboration between J.D. Power and Associates and Compete Inc., found that in each of the discrete six months preceding vehicle purchase, greater proportions of buyers visit third-party Web sites, compared with manufacturer Web sites.
The ailver lining for automakers? In the month of purchase, visits to manufacturer Web sites increases to match those to third-party Web sites, with 31% of all new-vehicle buyers visiting each type of Web site.
The firm says that among buyers who visit third-party Web sites, inventory search is the most popular Web site tool, with 25% of buyers accessing this type of information. Among buyers who visit manufacturer Web sites, vehicle building tools are used most frequently. Among third-party Web sites, AutoTrader.com, Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book got particularly high visits from buyers overall.