It’s common for new car shoppers to use the Internet for research before they go to the dealership, and the trend is increasing among used vehicle shoppers as well.
Sixty-eight percent of used vehicle buyers used the Internet in their shopping process in 2010, which is an increase of five percent from 2009, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Used Vehicle Market Report.
Online classified ads continue to be a popular way to find a used car. Thirty-six percent of used vehicle buyers in 2010 said they used Internet classified ads to find their vehicle, while 26 percent said they found the vehicle they bought by driving to dealer lots.
More used car buyers are using online classified ads to find their next used vehicle.
Using online classifieds just to shop also continues to increase. J.D. Power found that using online classified ads to browse for used vehicles is up from 29 percent in 2003 to 41 percent in 2006 to 51 percent in 2010.
Which sites are used car shoppers going to? J.D. Power found that shoppers visited independent automotive websites more than dealership sites. Two-thirds of used car shoppers think independent sites (KBB.com, Edmunds.com, AutoTrader.com, etc.) are the most useful during the shopping process.
More used car buyers are visiting dealership sites during their shopping process as well. In 2010, 81 percent said they visited a dealer site, which is an increase of three percent from a year ago.
"The growth of dealership site visitation, combined with a decline in visits to dealer lots, indicate that dependence on dealers is still strong for buyers, but the preferred method of contact during the shopping process is shifting online," said Arianne Walker, director of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates.
J.D. Power’s used vehicle report is based on the self-reported shopping habits of 10,705 used vehicle buyers and was conducted from June to August 2010.