Social media driving new car sales: study
A younger driver behind the wheel. (Georgijevic / Istock.com)
Published Saturday, September 17, 2016 10:56AM EDT
Social media is beginning to play a role in how consumers shop for a new car, but it's not about to take over from specialist sites, yet.
According to new data from JD Power, 22 per cent of people in the market for a new set of wheels have started turning to social networks for help and advice. The figure is up from 15% just 12 months ago, the last time JD Power conducted the New Autoshopper Study and it looks like it's the start of a growing trend, particularly among younger drivers.
"Social media plays a large role in many consumers' lives, so it's not surprising that it's one of the tools they're using during the vehicle-shopping process," said Mike Battaglia, vice president, automotive retail at J.D. Power. "While we would not expect social media sites to compete head-on with designated auto shopping sites like Toyota.com and Kelley Blue Book, it's easy to understand the role and relevance social plays in the automotive shopping process."
The study, which polled 17,349 people who had bought or leased a new 2014-2016 model year car found that YouTube is the most popular social network, cited by 13% while Facebook was used by 5% or respondents.
However, while attention is shifting to the social web, it appears that the social web isn't yet ready to give consumers what they want. Only 13% of respondents said that information found on social networks actually influenced their decision.
"Social media platforms aren't as useful as automotive shopping websites for automotive information, but they do serve the needs of consumers for unbiased dealer reviews, affirmations from other vehicle owners, accessing automotive-related videos and exchanging ideas and opinions with friends and family members," said Battaglia.
However, once a person has bought a new car, it seems that a social network is one of the first ports of call. Over one third of new-vehicle owners that used social media for research returned to post pictures of it, with Facebook (88%) and Instagram (21%) the most popular sites.