Car buyers turning to mobile to research new purchases, says Sophus3

David Murphy

There were 1.09bn visits to car brand websites in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and France in 2016, a 7 per cent increase on 2015. The average session length was 2 minutes, 51 seconds, with visitors looking at an average of four pages per visit. 51 per cent of visits were to car model pages; 22 per cent to configurator pages; 4 per cent to brochure request pages; 3.9 per cent to dealer locator pages; and 2.2 per cent to test drive request pages.

The figures come from Sophus3, which provides digital intelligence data to most of the world’s leading automotive brands. The data also reveal that more of this traffic is coming from mobile devices. While PCs still account for the largest share of traffic (48 per cent), this is 9 per cent down year-on-year. 42 per cent of traffic came from mobile, up 9 per cent year-on-year, while 11 per cent came from tablets, down 1 per cent year-on-year.

On Facebook, 44,000 posts from car brands led to 37m interactions, including likes, shares and comments, while on Twitter, the number of users following automotive brands rose 15 per cent to 5.5m. And on YouTube, 39,000 videos from car brands garnered a total of 621m views.

“10 years ago the average new car buyer visited six dealers before buying his car. This has now dropped to less than two visits,” said Sophus3 chairman, Marcus Hodgkinson. “At the same time, the proportion of visitors who use the internet as their primary pre-purchase research channel has risen to above 90 per cent. The majority of these web visits take place via a mobile device. As a result, by the time the car buyer visits the showroom they often know more about the car they want to buy than the sales person.”