Google research reveals what buyers want to do online and in car … – Car Dealer Magazine

Google says Millennials – people born between 1981-1996 – make up the largest proportion of car buyers right now.

New research by Google Gearshift shows that a third of active car buyers are aged in that category and the search giant has looked into how they want to interact with car dealers.

Of most interest is the data on what percentage of the car buying process Millennials want to conduct online and what they want to do in a dealership.

Split into researching and buying phases, Google has found that these buyers prefer visiting a car dealership to test drive and experience the cars they’re looking to buy.

They also want to get trade in prices, negotiate payments and sign contracts in a physical dealership.

However, Millennials are keen to conduct much of the car buying process online too.

When it comes to choosing a model, comparing prices, locating dealerships with stock and even securing funding, Millennials prefer to carry this all out online instead.

The research backs up beliefs by major car dealer groups that an ‘omni channel’ approach to car buying will be the future.

Online only car sales sites – like Cazoo – have stuttered as many buyers still want to see their cars before purchasing online.

Vertu Motors boss Robert Forrester branded online only sales for his group ‘tiddly winks’ in a recent interview with Car Dealer.

Forrester said he is focusing on a blended approach to selling cars online – allowing customers to reserve online and then finish the deal in a showroom.

‘We sold 500 used cars purely online – it’s like tiddlywinks versus the Premier League,’ he added, referring to his half year financial figures.

Google’s research asked car buyers which elements of the car buying process they wanted to conduct online or in the dealership. However, it also let them choose to opt for ‘online and at dealership’ as a response. When you factor in these choices none of the elements has a majority.

Google says Millennial car buyers are mostly driven to buy a car by a ‘life event’ – such as changing jobs or having children.

‘A growing family is the most relevant life event related purchase trigger for Millennials,’ said Google.

Millennials also research their purchases online more than other buyers, going to 6.9 different sources on average compared to 5.0, which is the norm.

They’re also more likely to want a PHEV or electric car, with 41 per cent of them considering these as options.

Google will be presenting at the first Car Dealer Live conference on March 9, 2023. The special event launches tomorrow (Dec 21) on the Car Dealer website. 

Register your interest for tickets now by emailing and you’ll be the first to hear about the new event.


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