Consumers more comfortable buying vehicles online

Filed under: Retail |

One in five consumers is likely to buy a vehicle through the Internet, a dramatic increase from the 2 percent who said they were likely to do so during 2001.
“Cars Online 07/08,” Capgemini’s ninth annual automotive study, explores trends within the retail side of the automotive industry, focusing on consumer buying behavior, environmental issues, Web usage, lead management and customer loyalty.
Nearly 2,600 consumers were surveyed in five countries: China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Among the findings of “Cars Online 07/08”:

  • The Internet is at the top of the list of information sources for consumers when researching car purchases — 80 percent of those surveyed now use the Web — but the way it is being used is changing.
  • Search engines, automotive blogs and Web forums have become key information sources for vehicle buyers who are turning to user-generated Web sites to obtain a more objective view.
  • Twenty-nine percent of Web users referred to consumer-to-consumer sites when researching information, up from 21 percent a year ago.
  • Seventy-eight percent of respondents rely on search engines to do research.
  • Moreover, consumers are rejecting traditional information Web sites — the most popular information source two years ago — in favor of manufacturer Web sites, which are now the most-frequented source for information.
  • Consumers tend to first visit manufacturer sites, then turn to user-generated content for reviews.
  • The generation gap is narrowing in Web usage, with almost half of consumers 50 and older visiting manufacturer sites, a proportion similar to that of the 18-34 age group.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about vehicles as Web sophistication grows, often putting them one step ahead of dealerships and automotive companies,” said Nick Gill, global leader of Capgemini’s automotive sector. “Though it’s difficult to predict exactly how the online channel will develop, there is clearly an untapped opportunity that merits closer investigation; companies seeking to capitalize on online sales should re–evaluate their channel strategy.”

RFID expo

Retail, health care, manufacturing, biotechnology, government contractors and other industries are applying RFID technology to streamline operations, deter theft, reduce labor and human error, and optimize asset utilization.
They are doing this at a rate that, according to Gartner, an information technology research and advisory company, will help the RFID market reach $3 billion by 2010.
To educate Colorado about the advances in the technology, the Colorado RFID Alliance will host an expo from 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Marriott Denver Tech Center.
President Gary Bresien said RFID technology has moved to where users are now seeing real return on investment.
According to CORFIDA, Colorado is one of the nation’s hotspots for RFID activity, and the expo will provide a cross representation of those companies already achieving ROI with RFID technology, companies exploring RFID to improve their businesses and RFID technology suppliers.
Companies sponsoring this year’s expo and providing product demonstrations include Motorola, Sun Microsystems, Fluensee, American Barcode & RFID, Alien Technology, Intelleflex, SkyeTek and IBM.
For more information, or to register for the expo, visit www.corfida.org. The cost is $25 per person, and registration includes a one-year associate membership to the Colorado RFID Alliance.
Joan Johnson covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.