According to The Detroit Free Press, a study by AutoTrader found half of Millennials used a mobile device when buying a car last year. They aren't the only ones becomes savvier consumers, though. All customers are visiting fewer dealers with the average now at 1.6 visits to physical showrooms, versus five a decade ago. Instead of checking a model out on the lot, shoppers are moving online. Other research cited by The Detroit Free Press shows about 80 percent of buyers check the prices from an average of 10 dealers online before picking the right one.
Showrooms are trying to adapt to this new behavior. Third-party sites like eBay Motors give dealers a chance to show off their wares to a wider number of consumers, and sellers sometimes advertise lower prices online to get people in the door.
For buyers, the process of shopping online avoids visiting a dealer, which many people absolutely loathe. Still, since photos on the Internet might not be the best representation, the Better Business Bureau recommends checking a vehicle out in person before completing the sale.