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Car buyers using digital devices

By Tara Baukus Mello · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Posted: 6 pm ET

A full 79 percent of today's car buyers are using the Internet to conduct new car research when buying a car, and a full half of them do not have any brand loyalty at the outset of their search, according to a new survey. The J.D. Power 2013 New Autoshopper Study found that 50 percent of the car shoppers who are using digital devices -- including computers, smartphones and tablets -- to conduct Internet research are open to any brand initially.

The study found that while auto shoppers most often use a desktop or laptop computer for their research, tablet and smartphone use has increased year over year. For the first time, car shoppers also reported using tablets more often than smartphones -- 25 percent versus 23 percent. As a result, 34 percent of car shoppers now report researching their next car purchase using multiple digital devices, including desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles.

In addition, Gen Y shoppers, who now comprise more than 20 percent of all retail sales, are the biggest Internet researchers and the most open to any car brand. J.D. Power found that 54 percent of Gen Y shoppers had no particular brand loyalty at the beginning of their new-car search, and 47 percent used smartphones in their car-shopping process, more than any other demographic.

The J.D. Power 2013 New Autoshopper Study is based on responses from 17,012 car buyers and lessees of 2011 to 2013 model-year cars who used information gathered digitally in the car-shopping process.

Have you used a digital device to shop for a car?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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