People don't just walk up to a dealership and pick out a new car. They ask questions and do their research - often online - before ever getting to the lot. In this study, we look at how that research is done to help car marketers their message in front of the right people at the right time. In this case, it's two to three months before a shopper gets behind the wheel for a test drive.

April 2011

How is auto shopper behavior changing in a digitally powered world? How are shoppers' expectations of the physical dealership changing? Google partnered with Shopper Sciences to reveal the Zero Moments of Truth for the automotive industry and found:

  • Shoppers for automobiles are quite thoughtful —€“ with the majority of them starting the process about 2-3 months before. Surprisingly, there is an aggregate of 14% of shoppers who actually report spending less than a week on the decision making process.
  • Auto shoppers use on average 18.2 different source of information – from TV, news articles, online, family, etc. to finally form their decision. This is even more than the number of sources patients use to make decisions about elective surgery.
  • 97% of auto shoppers engage in ZMOT, on par with that of FMOT. Marketers should be thinking about how to use ZMOT to drive shoppers right into the dealership at FMOT.