Social media is a relatively minor source of information for new car buyers, including persons age 32 and under, according to new data from MaritzCX, a customer relationship data company that surveyed more than 60,000 people about their automotive purchase habits.
On average, car buyers of all ages said their top sources of information are dealer salespeople (22%), friends and family (19%), and consumer guides (14%). By comparison, just 0.6% said they consider social media including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ an important source of information. Also scoring ahead of social media were carmaker websites (8%) and published safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Safety Administration (7%).
Car buyers younger than 32, who are often first-time buyers, cited friends and family as their most trusted source of information (29%), followed by dealer salespeople (15%), consumer guides (11%), dealer and manufacturer websites (9%), and safety ratings (8%). By contrast, just 0.5% said they considered social media an important source of information; however 2.6% cited chat rooms, blogs and forums as an important source.
So far, mobile apps have also failed to make much of an impression, with just 0.7% of all respondents and 0.6% of younger buyers identifying them as an important source of information when considering a new car purchase. However MaritzCX noted that mobile apps can be a useful tool for salespeople as an adjunct to personal interactions.
Last year, a survey of 1,900 new and used car buyers by AutoTrader.com found that just 1% of car buyers said they use social media to shop for a vehicle, 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.