The study--based on click-stream analysis conducted last autumn and a survey of 342 car shoppers this February and March--found that about 63 percent of price quotes were requested from aggregator sites, as opposed to manufacturers' sites.
"Those who are in-market for a vehicle are going to visit a wide range of sites online," said David Schwartz, Yahoo Search Marketing's senior manager for automotive. "The majority of key shopping behaviors are taking place on the aggregator sites, especially where you find vehicle comparisons."
Auto verticals surpassed manufacturers' Web sites in activities like comparison shopping--with 64 percent of those surveyed choosing aggregators, 62 percent using an aggregator to find a dealership near them, and 60 percent finding a price quote on an automotive vertical site.
But the study also found that auto shoppers prefer car companies' own Web sites when doing in-depth research on particular models, customizing vehicles, and exploring different options and accessories.
-- Shankar Gupta