Holiday shoppers are more motivated to buy than they were in 2017. This is the key finding of research into holiday shopping behavior during Black Friday weekend. For three days – Black Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — we used a geolocated survey to target shoppers after they visited dealer lots. We included a representative mix of and shoppers.

Here’s what we found:

  • Holiday shoppers are more motivated to buy than they were in 2017. During Black Friday weekend, 34 percent of shoppers said that the main purpose of their most recent auto dealership visit was to purchase a car – compared to 25 percent who answered the same way in 2017. Twenty six percent were planning on purchasing a car that week versus 21 percent in 2017.
  • Holiday shoppers’ motivation to buy resulted in a higher close rate during Black Friday visits. Twenty four percent of Black Friday shoppers purchased or leased a car that weekend versus 18 percent who did so in 2017.
  • The number of dealerships visited is leveling out. Sixty percent of Black Friday weekend shoppers visited two-to-three dealerships versus 58 percent in 2017. Twenty-six percent visited only one dealer – the same as in 2017.
  • Car shopping remains a local experience. Fifty one percent of Black Friday weekend shoppers visited dealerships located between 0 and 10 miles of their home – the same level as 2017. The number of shoppers willing to travel more than 25 miles from their home during Black Friday weekend dropped from 15 percent in 2017 to 11 percent in 2018.
  • Shoppers are mobile-savvy. Seventy four percent of shoppers conducted mobile research on dealerships’ lots. In addition, the percentage of shoppers using their devices to read car reviews increased (from 39 percent to 45 percent).

For dealers, there are many implications:

  • Don’t let up on your marketing and advertising outreach during the holiday season. The notion that holiday shoppers are too busy to look at cars does not hold true. Shoppers are doing their research and stopping by lots – and they are motivated to buy.
  • Have a ratings/reviews system in place to encourage reviews, respond to them, and learn from them, given the popularity of ratings/reviews.
  • Manage your identity where local searches occur, such as Google My Business and Facebook Marketplace. Make sure your location data and content are up to date, accurate, and compelling, with clear calls to action and striking visuals of your inventory. And make sure all your content is optimized for mobile viewing.

For more insight into how to win during the holiday season, contact your sales representative.