Arthur D. Little: Buying a car online is becoming normal

21 December 2012

The car industry can capture much more benefit from e-commerce. Although the sector still leans on its traditional business model centred on physical sales, consumers globally are increasingly willing to buy their car online. This can be concluded from an analysis by Arthur D. Little.

The role of online channels within the automotive sales industry is currently limited to information gathering with few links to sales. Based on changing consumer preferences, the traditional business model needs an update. A survey from Arthur D. Little among 1,000 customers across Europe, America and China show that more than one-third of customers would buy a car online. 

Striking is that the e-commerce willingness of Chinese customers remains very high, they are twice as likely to do so as their European and American counterparts. Price remains the most important factor for American and European customers. Chinese customers interestingly are more interested in exclusivity.

ADL - Online Sales in Automotive

"For many people, the act of buying a new car is transitioning from a very emotional purchase to a rational decision; a car will simply become part of their mobility package instead of a status symbol" says Andreas Gissler, Director of the Automotive sector at the advisory firm. He continues: "Online channels are increasingly used in numerous industries and automotive companies can tap into these benefits. The sales process is inevitably expanding to the digital world and automotive companies need to realize it has the potential to significantly lower operating costs across the sales


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