new-car shopper audience, dealer marketing, automotive marketing knows new-car shoppers. With new-car sales expected to surpass 16.5 million units this year, up from an early forecast of 16.3 million units, demand for new vehicles is growing by the day. Searches on are also up nearly 30% year-over-year, a result of an increasing number of consumers using online tools to compare vehicle options, read reviews and learn about dealerships to ensure they’re buying the car that’s best for them.

For franchise dealerships, targeting this special group of shoppers effectively is essential. But with nearby competitors carrying similar inventory, differentiating your dealership and attracting customers can be an arduous task.

Keep these three new-car traits in mind when tailoring your marketing strategy to reach and influence this audience.

Digital Decision Makers

Nearly every new-car shopper turns to the internet before they buy. According to a recent report from C+R Research, 95% of new-car shoppers research their vehicle purchase online. Moreover, related studies show this same set of shoppers spends an average of 14 hours online before purchase.

With such a significant amount of time spent online, dealers and manufacturers would be wise to adjust their marketing efforts to focus first on the digital platforms most commonly used by new-car shoppers.

Options Galore

100, 500, 1,000, maybe more – how many different make and model combinations do new-car shoppers have to choose from?

The number of new-vehicle models offered to consumers has exploded in recent years. Automakers have become highly targeted in regard to the types of vehicles they produce, leaving dealerships to explain nuances in a seemingly endless list of trim packages and options, even to well-informed shoppers.

Though inventory diversity is a major reason the new-car market has been strong this year, for your dealership to capitalize, you’ve got to make online merchandising and in-store sales education a fundamental part of business. On your dealership website and third-party research sites like, treat new-car merchandising the same as used-inventory merchandising and showcase each vehicle with stellar photos, descriptive sales copy and transparent pricing information.

Cross-platform Process

An astounding 80% of all car shoppers report using a smartphone during their buying process, and new-car shoppers are no different.

On, nearly 60% of new-car searches are done from a mobile device, highlighting the important connection between desktop and mobile research. By establishing a consistent mobile marketing strategy and being flexible when consumers use smartphones and tablets to “showroom” while on your dealership lot, you can build trust by shopping with consumers, rather than against competitors.

For more, check out our audience profiles below, and stay tuned for next week’s overview of The “Mobile” Car Shopper.

Shopper Profiles

The “New-Car” Shopper

The “Mobile” Shopper

The “CPO” Shopper

The “Luxury” Shopper

The “Millennial” Shopper