Description

“While the broader automotive industry continues to struggle with inventory and availability, shopping for a car online has become an increasingly viable alternative for consumers looking for vehicles. As inventory challenges and rising prices persist, the adoption of online car shopping will continue and online car marketplaces must look to showcase the value they can provide to differentiate from competitors.”
– Gabe Sanchez, Automotive Analyst

This Report discusses the following key topics:

  • Consumers’ online car buying experience
  • Important benefits and concerns when buying a car online
  • Consumers’ research approach and resources used when buying a car online
  • Consumers’ attitudes toward online car shopping

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: eCommerce share of sales through motor vehicle and parts dealers, Q1 2018-Q4 2021
      • Figure 2: automotive ecommerce industry outlook, 2022-27
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Economic influences push consumers to be more critical of their spending
    • Chip shortage limits inventory; drives consumers to search online
    • Consider cross-branded partnerships
    • Go beyond the platform to reach and engage with consumers
    • Explore various ways to promote sustainability efforts
    • Key consumer insights
    • Online car buying has gained significant traction amongst consumers
    • Benefits of online car buying draw consumers from traditional dealership experience
    • Consumers are interested in online car shopping, but still hold concerns
    • Younger consumers indicate a need for guidance
  3. Market Size

    • Auto ecommerce witnesses sustained growth year over year
      • Figure 3: eCommerce share of sales through motor vehicle and parts dealers, Q1 2018-Q4 2021
  4. Market Factors

    • Consumer confidence drives a more critical focus on spending
      • Figure 4: Consumer Sentiment Index and unemployment, 2000-22
    • Inflation threatens new and used online marketplaces
      • Figure 5: Consumer Price Index, new vehicles and used vehicles, 2017-22
    • US government aims to improve the supply of semiconductors, regulate market
    • Gas prices cause concern amongst consumers
      • Figure 6: US gasoline and diesel retail prices, 2010-22
  5. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • CarMax, Carvana leverage fan affinity
    • The opportunity
      • Figure 7: CarMax features Stephen Curry to promote instant offers
      • Figure 8: Carvana features sponsorships on exclusive social media channels
    • Carvana invites franchised dealerships to join its platform, increases inventory
    • The opportunity
    • Automakers shift to used car platforms
    • The opportunity
      • Figure 9: Automotive News announces CarBravo platform
    • Demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility
    • The opportunity
      • Figure 10: CarMax showcases social impact
    • Create experiences for consumers that go beyond selling cars
    • The opportunity
      • Figure 11: McLaren F1 team partners with Roblox to unveil race car
  6. The Car Consumer – Fast Facts

  7. Purchase Time Frame

    • Consumers may delay purchasing a vehicle; some appear optimistic
      • Figure 12: Purchase intent, by generation, 2022
    • Black consumers are most interested in purchasing in the short term
      • Figure 13: CarMax leverages Washington Wizards sponsorship
      • Figure 14: Purchase intent, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
  8. Consideration of Vehicle Type

    • Younger consumers show interest in used cars
      • Figure 15: Consideration of vehicle type, by generation, 2022
    • Financial challenges drive consumers to used vehicles despite historically high prices
      • Figure 16: Consideration of vehicle type, by financial situation, 2022
    • Black, Hispanic consumers demonstrate interest in used vehicles
      • Figure 17: Consideration of vehicle type, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
  9. Online Car Buying Experience

    • There is a growing interest in online car buying across generations
      • Figure 18: Online car buying experience, by generation, 2022
    • Higher-income consumers are most open to purchasing a car online
      • Figure 19: Online car buying experience, by household income, 2022
    • Parents demonstrate an interest in buying a car online
      • Figure 20: Online car buying experience, by parental status, 2022
    • Multicultural consumers show mixed feelings toward online car shopping
      • Figure 21: Online car buying experience, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
  10. Important Benefits and Concerns

    • Consumers grasp the benefits, but education is needed to ease concerns
      • Figure 22: Important benefits when shopping for a car online, by gender, 2022
      • Figure 23: Vroom demonstrates the concerns of female car buyers
      • Figure 24: Top concerns when shopping for a car online, by gender, 2022
    • Perceived benefits and concerns with online car shopping shift with age
      • Figure 25: Important benefits when shopping for a car online, by age, 2022
      • Figure 26: Top concerns when shopping for a car online, by age, 2022
    • Parents value the convenience, but demonstrate concerns regarding the process
      • Figure 27: Carvana aims to educate parents through blog post
      • Figure 28: Important benefits when shopping for a car online, by parental status, 2022
      • Figure 29: Top concerns when shopping for a car online, by parental status, 2022
    • Opportunity exists to educate multicultural consumers
      • Figure 30: Carmax leverages Usain Bolt to attract consumers
      • Figure 31: Important benefits when shopping for a car online, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
      • Figure 32: Top concerns when shopping for a car online, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
  11. Resources Used & Research Approach

    • Consumers visit a variety of websites and resources in their purchasing process
      • Figure 33: Resources used, 2022
    • Younger consumers indicate limited experience
      • Figure 34: Online car purchasing approach, by age, 2022
      • Figure 35: Likelihood to use features/methods, by age, 2022
    • Women consider more factors when buying a car online
      • Figure 36: Online car purchasing approach, by gender, 2022
  12. Attitudes toward Online Car Shopping

    • Online marketplaces can drive appeal by promoting available inventory
      • Figure 37: Truecar showcases size of inventory, 2022
      • Figure 38: Attitudes toward online car shopping – general overview, by age, 2022
    • Online marketplaces fit a need amongst consumers
      • Figure 39: Attitudes toward online car shopping – new cars, by household income, 2022
  13. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Consumer survey data
    • Consumer qualitative research
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms

About the report

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