Dealer.com, DriverSide, and GfK Automotive Research partnered to conduct a research initiative exploring the impact of social media on the car buying process. The research surveyed approximately 2,000 consumers who had recently purchased a new vehicle or were planning to purchase within the next 12 months and had already started shopping. The following are excerpts from the study that were presented at the DrivingSales Executive Summit in October. A complete report will be released in November 2011. All data is co-owned and copyrighted by Dealer.com, DriverSide, and GfK Automotive Research. Material must be sourced when used. To sign up for a complete copy, please visit www.doessocialmatter.com.
Social Media Use
· Eighty-four percent of new vehicle shoppers use Facebook.
· Twenty-seven percent of new vehicle shoppers use or will use Facebook as a resource while shopping for their new vehicle.
When extrapolated across the 9.1 million light vehicles sold in the US last year, it’s equal to 2.4 million vehicles sold that were influenced by social media. To put this number in context, 2.4 million is equal to the number of new Ford and Toyota’s sold in the US combined in 2010.
· Thirty-eight percent will use some form of social media to research their next vehicle purchase.
Engagement on social media channels after the purchase is impressive. Conversations are happening now with approximately one out of every four buyers using social media to communicate their new ownership experience.
· Fifty-eight percent of purchasers posted a comment or status update on Facebook about their new vehicle.
· Twenty-four percent “liked” the brand on Facebook.
· Thirty-four percent posted a comment about the dealership where they purchased a vehicle.
· Twenty-four percent “liked” the dealership on Facebook.
· Thirty-three percent tweeted about their new vehicle.
· Twenty-eight percent tweeted about their dealership.
The influence of social media on others is also significant and signals the importance of advocacy between consumers as a powerful force. Of those who used social media while shopping:
· Forty-one percent said they saw a post that caused them to add a brand or model to their consideration.
· Six percent said they saw a posting that caused them to remove a brand or model from consideration. The same positive effect is had on dealerships.
· Twenty-eight percent saw a posting that caused them to add a dealership to their consideration.
· Three percent saw something that caused them to remove a dealership.
Reading social media posts from friends and family members can sway consumers both positively and negatively. Of those who used Facebook during their shopping process,
· Sixty-nine percent said a friend’s favorable post would positively impact their opinion of a brand of vehicle.
· Sixty-one percent said a friend’s critical post would negatively impact their opinion of a brand or vehicle.
Social Media and Loyalty
Social media use and engagement among consumers who consider themselves loyal to at least one dealer or manufacturer is higher than those who have no loyalty. Of those loyal to a dealership:
Seventy-five percent use Facebook weekly compared to 64 percent of those who don’t consider themselves loyal. And for those loyal to a brand, that number increases to 33 percent. For those loyal to a dealership, that number increases again to 37 percent.
©2011 DriverSide, Dealer.com, GfK Automotive Research
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