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April 16, 2015

Most car-buyers would happily do entire purchase online

Relevance of dealerships set to dwindle amid appetite for digital.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Car-buyers are becoming increasingly open to buying a car online without ever visiting a dealership, according to a survey from the consultancy Accenture.

In an international consumer survey of 10,000, three-quarters said they would consider doing the entire purchase online, including financing, haggling, paperwork and delivery.

Some 80% of drivers also said they did research online at some point before buying, with two-thirds starting the process online before entering a dealership.

Christina Raab, MD for automotive digital consumer services at Accenture, said: "The impact of the digital customer is becoming pervasive, disrupting the traditional car-buying experience and the competitive landscape.

"In order to grow business in this environment, OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] and dealers will need to pursue an aggressive digital strategy online, in the showroom and in after-sales, while creating a seamless, integrated experience to accommodate all customer needs."

The survey also showed that innovative forms of car-buying could become common in the future, as 63% claimed they would be interested in buying a car through an online auction.

However more than half said they wanted the car industry to improve its online services to make research easier and provide more tailored information, including price comparison services.

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Of the eight nations interviewed Chinese respondents showed the greatest enthusiasm for online car-buying, with 92% saying they would consider doing so or had already done so.

"Whether in China, Germany or the US, using online processes to a greater extent for car-buying is becoming the norm, not the exception," said Raab.

"OEMs and dealers that want to succeed in the future will need to adjust their business models to take advantage of the emerging digital reality that is transforming car-buying."

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