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More than half of shoppers rely on word-of-mouth for new-car sale

February 21, 2020
Despite a decline in new-car sales during the past few years, plenty of Americans are still on the hunt for their latest ride. For automakers, the question is, ‘How do I get them to pick something from my lineup?’ "
 
Easy. Make sure their friends and family like their cars, according to a new study by Autolist.com, which interviewed more than 1,100 current new-vehicle shoppers for the study.
 
The website polled new-car shoppers to find out more about their buying processes — more precisely, what impacts their decision the most. Word-of-mouth endorsements from friends and family were most often the influence cited (52%) to impact them the most when it came to making a new-vehicle selection.
 
"When someone in your immediate circle has a good or bad experience with anything, it makes you feel better about making the same decision," said Chase Disher, an analyst at Autolist. "Because cars are such a huge purchase in our lives, word-of-mouth means that much more here."
 
Everyone likes a winner, and if a vehicle has captured an award — voted on by automotive journalists, or something similar from a publication or consumer site such as Motor Trend, Car & Driver, KBB.com and Edmunds.com — that makes a difference. It was the third-ranked factor, with 26% of shoppers citing their influence. KBB, Edmunds and AutoTrader were the top three choices.
 
YouTube reviews, such as those posted by Doug DeMuro, who has 3.36 million subscribers, offer detailed insights which were cited by 22% of respondents as influencing their decisions.
 
Since the average age of a new-vehicle buyer puts them between Baby Boomer and Gen Xer, the impact of social media influencers isn’t as pronounced, with just 11% of respondents across all age groups citing them as influential. However, that changes significantly if the focus is solely on younger buyers. Then the script gets flipped.
 
Younger shoppers ages 18-23 had different influences than all other age groups; the cohort relied more on social media influencers and YouTube than any of the other age groups, and less on data-backed organizations, the website noted.
 
This age group cited YouTube as the second-most influential source (behind friends/family/coworkers), with 36% of respondents choosing it. That compares with the aforementioned 22% of respondents of all ages citing YouTube as influential.
 
The younger age group also placed the least importance on the grouping of data-backed organizations; just 15% of people 18 to 23 years old said these were influential, compared to the survey average of 33% across all age groups.
 
 

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