Automotive, Education, Insights

Kijiji report analysis: what car buyers want from your dealership

By Motoinsight - Jul 09, 2020

Looking back, 2020 was the year automotive digital retailing took off due to necessity when customers found themselves forced to shop from home. If we look back just a little further, though, we can see that 2019 was the year digital retailing actually broke into the mainstream as a viable and sought-after solution in North America.

Now that dealerships everywhere are jumping head-first into digital retailing, let's have a look at the year that set us up to succeed even as dealership traffic waned. Digital retailing providers have been quietly building a foundation and promoting a solution that's proving critical today, and for the future.

What Kijiji says this means for your dealership


At the end of 2019, Kijiji Autos released a research report of key findings for the year in automotive retail. This data-packed PDF is Kijiji’s third dive into shopping trends and how they affect your dealership. Since you aren’t in high school, we aren’t asking you to study any research reports. Instead, here’s a summary of Kijiji’s most interesting findings.

The showroom is still critical

To paraphrase The Who, “meet the new dealer, same as the old dealer.” If you thought we were about to tell you that the modern dealer exists only on the laptops and smartphones of your customers, don’t worry. In fact, we have a write-up on the critical role of your showroom in modern retailing right here. The physical dealership is just as important as ever – the change is in how consumers approach it.

40% of car buyers visited only one physical dealership prior to purchase

How do people interact with your showroom?

According to the Kijiji report, 40% of recent car buyers only visited one dealership, up 6% from 2017. Why the single-dealership approach? Well, the research and fact-finding part of the purchase almost exclusively takes place online. Customers want to be able to shop and educate themselves from anywhere, as is evident in the 53% of young consumers who used a mobile device as part of the purchase process.

What are dealers doing about it?

Most dealers have picked up on this: Kijiji found that 72% of dealers believe that increased mobile usage will have a positive impact on their businesses in the next two to three years, with three quarters of dealers planning to spend more on digital advertising. If consumers are online, you need to be too.

Where you can meet these digital consumers

Barely half of consumers used any offline resources at all during their purchases, with the single biggest offline influence coming from word of mouth. A full 88% of buyers used an online resource, with the average consumer using 2.77 different resource types during the purchase.

Your most important resource? Your website. The dealer website dwarfed other channels in terms of consumer reliance, but online classifieds and manufacturer ‘sites held meaningful influence as well.

88% of car buyers relied on online resources to make their purchase even before the pandemic
This highlights a major discrepancy, and a major opportunity for your dealership. Kijiji found that 84% of consumers spend more than half their time researching online, versus only 49% of dealers who allocate more than half their budgets to digital advertising. To make the most of your budget, those numbers should line up perfectly.

What steps should your dealership take based on these findings?


  1. Customers want to start shopping and buying online, so let them. They want increased transparency and ease-of-use online, with the option to do more.

  2. Your customers are shopping using a variety of devices from computers to smartphones, so your process should connect different devices seamlessly.

  3. Consumers rely most heavily on digital resources when shopping, and your dealership website is their favourite place to be. Your website needs to be your primary focus.

  4. After all their research and online shopping, customers are visiting fewer dealerships – often just one. The better your online experience, the better your odds of being that one dealership.

If these points seem unrelated or unattainable, think again: the right digital retailing platform takes care of all of it. From elevating your dealership website to allowing customers to do more online, digital retailing is a universal problem solver. Try our free digital retailing assessment workbook here to determine the right kind of platform for your dealership!

On top of their ability to differentiate your dealership in the eyes of digitally motivated consumers, the best digital retailing providers also create a seamless transition from internet to showroom. Digital doesn’t need to mean “complicated.” Where your dealership is concerned, digital is a synonym for “well, that worked.”

You can read more about digital retailing here, or click below to see it in action!

Ready to sell more cars? See how your dealership can thrive online today.

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