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54% of Gen Y online shoppers open to buying any brand: J.D. Power

September 13, 2013
More than half of Generation Y online shoppers are open to buying any brand at the beginning of the shopping process, according to a J.D. Power and Associates study released Sept. 9.
The 2013 New Autoshopper Study — which explores how new-vehicle buyers use digital devices such as smartphones and tablets to gather information before a purchase as well as what websites and apps were used — found that 50 percent of online car shoppers will consider any brand at first, with the figure rising to 54 percent among Gen Y.
The study is based on input from 17,012 buyers and leasees of 2011-13 model-year new vehicles “who used information gathered digitally during the shopping process.”
“It is important for brands and websites to pay special attention to Gen Y buyers, as they are increasing in market share at the greatest rate among all new-vehicle buyers” and are now responsible for more than 20 percent of all retail sales, Arianne Walker, senior director of automotive media and marketing at J.D. Power, said in a statement.
The study finds that almost all Automotive Internet Users (98 percent) visit manufacturer sites during their shopping process, followed by dealer sites (83 percent); third-party sites (80 percent); and social media sites (7 percent). Such AIUs more frequently indicate that third-party (54 percent) and manufacturer (52 percent) websites are very helpful during the new-vehicle shopping process, compared with dealer and social media sites/apps.
“As AIUs continue to rely heavily on automotive manufacturer and third-party websites, an opportunity is created for sites to differentiate themselves further by providing engaging content and useful shopping tools that target consumers at each stage of the shopping process,” said Walker.
The study finds that Consumer Reports, and Kelley Blue Book ( are among the most frequently visited third-party websites, with AIUs visiting these sites more often than the other 33 third-party websites measured in the study.
Additionally, the users said that the model pricing information, vehicle ratings and reviews and vehicle comparison information are among the most useful third-party website content when making a purchase decision. 
J.D. Power research finds the following Internet shopping behaviors among AIUs:
• On average, the entire vehicle-shopping process for AIUs takes about four months.
• On average, AIUs access 10 automotive websites before purchasing a vehicle (including third-party, dealer and manufacturer sites).
• 90 percent or more of AIUs use model information and vehicle pricing. However, only 19 percent of AIUs access dealer ratings/reviews prior to purchase.