Social media is used by 71% of car buyers to assist with the buying process in some way, according to CarGuru’s research.
The study, which details how consumers’ attitudes have changed towards the car-buying process over the last two years, found the buying journey begins five weeks before they purchase a car, with online and social playing a key part.
More buyers are using social media to find a specific vehicle they want and 21% say social media directly informed their car purchase (up from 16% a year ago), while seven in 10 (71%) use social media to assist with the car-buying process in some way.
The most-used social media channels when looking to buy a car are YouTube (41%) and Facebook (37%), followed by Instagram (21%) and Twitter (13%).
Alexandra Howerter, senior consumer insights analyst at CarGurus, said: “With more buyers turning to social media to inform their decision, dealers should consider adopting an omnichannel marketing strategy and align their efforts online and offline.
“Creating a strong presence on social media is a great way to convert leads from online to the showroom. It also allows dealerships to stand out beyond the competition, harness an engaged community and build trust.”
Today’s buyers are more likely to contact dealers online ahead of visiting in person, according to CarGurus. This is especially true for people who buy new cars, with 45% contacting the dealer online ahead of an in-person visit. The study also found 42% of people aged 24-32 years contact online first.
Howerter added: “There are benefits to interacting with customers online ahead of the showroom. Our research found that buyers who contact a seller online are more likely to be upgrading, eager to buy and open-minded on price comparison compared to those who walk in.”
A used car retailer recently used his popular Tiktok account to tell buyers that they need to scour private sellers’ adverts on Auto Trader if they want to access the market’s cheapest vehicles.
Stephen Bogan, a director at Airdrie-based James Glen Car Sales, openly highlighted that car retailers would not be able to offer the cheapest prices as he addressed over 10,000 followers on the social media platform as part of a series which attempts to answer questions from car buyers.
Automotive content specialist Craig Thomas wrote an opinion piece for AM that outlines the potential advantages for OEMs and car dealers which use content marketing to reach and keep engaged buyers.