The Cars.com March 2018 On-the-Lot report introduces a new element to our monthly insight about on-the-lot mobile behaviors: price, one of the 4Ps of Automotive Marketing™ along with product, place, and person.
The Cars.com On-the-Lot report uses our patented Lot Insights technology to examine mobile shopping behavior when consumers are on a dealership’s lot. The report is based on aggregated data we glean from people who use Cars.com on a mobile device. In previous months, we have identified which vehicles are getting the most views and which days (and times of day) people are most likely to visit the lot. For our March report, we looked at the ways shoppers engage with the Estimate Monthly Payment feature on our mobile site or app, by vehicle and price range. This data gives us a better understanding of how price-sensitive shoppers are. We found:
Activity by Vehicle
- For used non-luxury new vehicles, more people are looking up estimated monthly payments for Ford than any other vehicle, whereas for new non-luxury vehicles, Chevrolet got the most engagement. Despite some variance in the rankings, the Top 5 for both non-luxury used and new vehicles are consistently Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Jeep, and Honda.
- For used luxury vehicles, Mercedes-Benz gets the most engagement whereas BMW is the most engaged vehicle in the new luxury segment. Luxury vehicles show the most variance in both used and new categories. Whereas the top five most engaged used luxury vehicles are Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti, the top five most engaged new luxury vehicles are BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Infiniti.
That the above vehicles are receiving the most engagement indicates how price-sensitive consumers are about them. Dealerships should be prepared to compare and validate the data that consumers are getting from their mobile devices while they are on your lot and discuss the factors that influence price, such as manufacturers’ promotions or optional features available for each vehicle.
Activity by Price Range
We also examined which VDPs got the most engagement based on their price range. We found:
- Vehicles costing $10,000-$20,000 get the most engagement, and vehicles costing $20,000-$30,000 get the second most. Together these two ranges account for nearly half of all VDP views in the Estimate Monthly Payment feature.
- Engagement remain consistent whether shoppers are on the lot or not. For instance, while off the lot, the $40,000-$50,000 category achieved 7.4 percent of the most overall engagement with the Estimate Monthly Payment feature whereas the category achieved 6.8 percent of the most views – a decline but not a huge one. The fact that the engagement levels for higher priced vehicles show only a modest decline when people are on the lot shows how seriously Cars.com shoppers research vehicles. People who use the Cars.com mobile properties to estimate vehicle prices are not simply doing some “what would it be like to own a Mercedes-Benz?” hypothetical research with more expensive categories before they visit the dealer. They are using the price research as a serious tool to arm themselves with data before they visit the lot.
Here again, dealers should be ready to validate and compare price information. If shoppers walk on to your lot and start viewing their mobile phones, assume that they are validating what they view in your on-the-lot inventory against what they have researched already on Cars.com. Also, take time to get familiar with the Estimate Monthly Payment tool and use it with VDPs you list on Cars.com as well as on your lot. Be ready to speak the language of your shopper and be as mobile-savvy as they are. For more insight, check out the complete March 2018 report here.