Most consumers begin to look for new cars within six months of purchase, with 39% beginning the process three months before deciding to buy. This window of time presents a clear opportunity for automakers to reach prospective buyers, according to a Yahoo study.
Seven percent of consumers research longer than one year from purchase while 10% research within 7-12 months of purchase. Twenty percent research within 4-6 months of purchase.
Search ads are one way to reach consumers at the right time. But shoppers are searching for different information at different points in the buying process, Yahoo has found. Generic terms peak at the beginning, while financing is more important toward the end of the process.
Terms such as “buying a new car” peak three months before purchase, when shoppers are looking to understand the landscape. However, selling terms like “selling my used car” or “how to sell my car” peak six weeks before purchase, as prospective buyers seek to understand what their current vehicles might be worth—and how much they’re comfortable spending on a new one.
Dealership terms peak at 4-5 weeks while financial terms, such as “car financing” and “auto insurance,” peak one week before purchase, once consumers have narrowed down their options and decided on a particular vehicle or make and model, according to Yahoo.
Forty percent of searchers searched for a car brand while researching and 87% percent of searchers searched for a car brand while shopping. Multi-device use is increasing with 85% using a desktop, 7% using a smartphone and 8% using a tablet.