With Tony D’Andrea, PhD

During holiday weekends, mobile shoppers are highly motivated to find special offers, but dealerships are not necessarily aligning their mobile content with what shoppers want.

That’s a key take-away from a Cars.com survey of in-market mobile shoppers at dealerships across the United States during the 2017 Memorial Day weekend.

Cars.com surveyed 600 car shoppers who were on dealership lots over Memorial Day weekend.  We wanted to get better insight into the behaviors of mobile shoppers during one of the most popular car-shopping weekends of the year. The survey, deployed across the United States, was structured to gain anonymous and unbiased results. Here’s what we found:

1. Mobile shoppers are ready to buy during the holiday weekend.

Thirty percent of mobile consumers we surveyed purchased a car over the Memorial Day weekend — a powerful number[1]. And no wonder: they were in a mood to buy. About 71 percent of mobile consumers told us they were at a dealer for the express purpose of shopping for a car, whereas 26 percent were at a dealer for service. By contrast, on a typical non-holiday weekend, 60 percent of consumers visit a dealer for service and 40 percent to shop.[2] Clearly, the holiday brings out motivated shoppers.

2. Shoppers want special offers on their mobile phones – but dealers are not necessarily serving up the content that shoppers want.

About six out of 10 shoppers told us they prefer “special offer” content shared with them on their mobile devices. But 81 percent of dealers prefer to share “why buy from us” mobile messaging.

Shoppers are looking for special offers as the ultimate trigger for the car purchase they desire. Dealers have an opportunity to align their mobile messaging more effectively with every touch point that a shopper encounters leading up to and during a holiday weekend.

Our survey also revealed:

  • Forty-one percent of all lot visits happened over Memorial Day without the shopper contacting the dealer ahead of time. And 20 percent of those walk-in shoppers we surveyed bought a car over the holiday, while seven out of 10 of them told us they would buy a car within three months’ time.
  • Cars.com is the number one third-party site used by mobile consumers during the holiday-shopping experience. Cars.com stands out as a valuable resource helping mobile shoppers vet vehicle and dealership choices. This finding is consistent with research that illustrates how influential Cars.com is on dealership success, as noted on our blog.

Attract Mobile Holiday Shoppers With Special Offers

With Independence Day approaching, dealers have an opportunity to prepare by aligning your pre-holiday advertising with your mobile content. Shoppers want special offers on their mobile phones. Make your inventory visible with holiday-specific offers on media such as Cars.com (which includes mobile), television, display ads, and all the forms of multi-channel media that reflect your customer’s journey.

Cars.com can help you grow your dealership — view the full infographic from the study, and contact us to discuss how we can attract summer holiday shoppers to your lot.


[1] Unless otherwise noted, source for data in this post is from the Cars.com Walk-in Tracker conducted with Mfour (Memorial Day Weekend), June 2017

[2] Cars.com and Placed, Dealer Walkins Analysis, February 2016