Auto Dealers Sway Purchase Decisions

A study says the dealership experience is just as influential – and increasingly so – among younger buyers.

Steve Finlay, Senior Editor

August 5, 2015

1 Min Read
Here they come Young people at Fordrelated event in Texas
Here they come. Young people at Ford-related event in Texas.

Auto dealers carry clout with new-car purchasers, according to Foresight Research’s latest annual Dealership Immersion Report.

The survey says more than three out of five new-car buyers cite their dealership experience as strongly affecting purchase decisions.

The dealership experience is just as influential – and increasingly so – among younger buyers. Foresight President Chris Stommel calls that important “after years of increasing domination by Boomers.”

He says of Millennials, “While they are certainly digital-savvy buyers overall, for more than half of them this is their first new car purchase, and they are just as reliant on dealers as older buyers.”

In 2013, slightly more than half of Generation Y buyers, ages 18 to 34, were influenced by their dealer experience, he says. “That jumped significantly to 63% in 2014.”

Millennials use different expectations to select dealers, Foresight says.

They more often value a comfortable browsing and shopping environment. They are particularly concerned with price, value and financing.

But because many of them are first-time buyers, they less often pick a dealer based on prior contact with a store or salesperson. Rather, they rely more on the Internet, including visiting dealer websites and reading online reviews.

“Much more so than Boomers, Millennials are open to online or on-my-own-time options, such as virtual showrooms and online price negotiation,” Stommel says.

As Gen Y’s car consumerism increases, “their preferences will dictate what makes a robust dealership,” he says.

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