Social media may or may not be useful for selling various kinds of stuff to people, but for one category, automobiles, it’s definitely a non-starter (get it?). That’s according to a new survey of 1,900 new and used car buyers by AutoTrader.com, which found that even social-obsessed millennials are barely using social media in their car buying process. The findings are especially noteworthy because millennials embrace other online resources for research and price comparison.
A mere 1% of car buyers said they use social media to shop for a vehicle, the AutoTrader.com survey found, rising to a scant 5% of millennials. Furthermore 78% of millennials were indifferent to car brands having a social media presence, since their social channels rarely communicate key information on pricing and availability.
By contrast, 95% of millennials use the Internet at large to shop for cars, typically turning to third-party sites for key information. Overall they spend 82% of their total research time of 17.6 hours online, with 51% of the total going to third-party sites. Car buyers in general devote 75% of their total research time of 15.5 hours to the Internet, up from 62% in 2011, and spend 46% of their time on third-party sites. Millennials spend an average 15% of their research time on dealer sites and 10% on manufacturer sites; for car buyers overall the proportions are 19% and 13%, respectively.
When it comes to millennials, the real hot spot for car brands is mobile: 51% of young car buyers used a smartphone to shop for a vehicle, up from 34% last year, and 35% of millennials said that not having a mobile site was bad for car brands. Unsurprisingly 44% of millennial car buyers said they used multiple devices to shop for cars, compared to 32% of car buyers overall.
By contrast traditional media is in decline, with 67% of millennials saying newspapers are “not helpful” and 49% saying the same of TV. In fact just 7% of millennials used newspapers to shop for cars, while a mere 12% used TV.