A new eBay Advertising survey found that 63 percent of respondents are either “extremely likely” or “likely” to purchase a vehicle online in the future.
For the two-part survey, eBay Advertising says it garnered responses from more than 1,000 U.S. consumers between the ages of 18 and 65 who had purchased a vehicle in the last six months. The company also analyzed eBay Motors data based on approximately 1,000 consumers who had either made purchases from the “cars & trucks” category on eBay Motors, or who had browsed through eBay Motors in 2016.
The eBay Motors platform houses thousands of vehicle listings from dealerships and private sellers.
The eBay report comes at a time when an increasing number of dealers are taking the plunge into online vehicle transactions. Some dealers are offering online services via in-house projects like those at giant retailers AutoNation Inc. and Penske Automotive Group Inc., or through third parties such as Roadster, which launched an online-shopping platform for dealership websites last summer in California.
While dealers look to adopt the Amazon experience for vehicle purchases, data shows that the public demand for such services is still evolving. Although eBay’s survey found intense interest for buying vehicles online, a recent report from dealer software provider Dealersocket told another story when it said that a mere one-third of shoppers want to complete an entire transaction online.
But no matter what survey you look at, the online wave isn’t going anywhere. With a growing number of digital outlets to buy vehicles from, eBay Motors continues to make a play in the space by providing leads to dealers who populate the site with a plethora of new and used listings.
Some dealers start accounts on eBay Motors and don’t realize the site can integrate with a store’s customer relationship management and inventory tools.
Dealers using the eBay Motors integration receive lead notifications through their CRM platforms. The site also has a vehicle merchandising platform that links to dealer inventory systems and allows them to automate which models are selected for display on eBay Motors.
Kevin Considine, eBay Motors’ senior merchant of vehicles in the U.S., said he feels the rise of other online shopping platforms won’t detract from eBay’s offerings, but complement them.
“We are trying to serve that same demand from buyers in the marketplace, which is to take that process as far as they can online. A lot of those dealers that are offering those services on their own platforms, or are planning to do that, are also the same dealers that are reaching our buyers through the eBay marketplace,” Considine told Automotive News. “They’re not just relying on traffic to their own site. Many of them are finding those shoppers on eBay.”
The eBay Motors marketplace provides other tools to enable online deals. Shoppers have the option to get vehicles inspected, access history reports and sift through pricing offers from shipping companies. The site also has partnerships with finance and insurance companies such as Allstate, Progressive and State Farm, which could be a convenience for those buying from private sellers instead of franchised dealerships.
“We’re definitely looking at finding those partnerships where we can blend an important service to a purchase decision like a vehicle,” Josh Wetzel, eBay Advertising’s senior director of sales and marketing, told Automotive News.
The eBay survey also found that 87 percent of respondents use the internet to research vehicles. While that number is extremely high, Considine thought it would be even higher.
He said those who don’t research online likely have close relationships with neighborhood stores that they’ve always done business with.
“They have a trusted salesperson,” Considine said. “They go through a process that they’ve done many times before and they may still be happy with that cycle.”
The survey had a few more highlights:
• The average length of the purchase journey is two months, which consists of researching, reading reviews, etc.
• Sedans and SUV/ crossovers were the most popular vehicles purchased.
• Women are more likely than men to plan to keep their vehicle until it dies.
You can reach Vince Bond Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org -- Follow Vince on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/VinceBond86