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Within five years 18% of Europeans will buy cars online


Tech Economy / 23/10/2017

Within five years, 18% of Europeans will buy cars online, while 79% will go for a hybrid solution, using the web at some stage during the buying process and going directly to the dealership for others. The remaining 3% will keep doing everything through an authorized retailer, without using the web: these are the main results of a survey carried out by Motork and presented during the IAB Internet Motors event (, one of the most important digital automotive events in Europe, now in its fifteenth edition.

The 2017 edition of IAB Internet Motors, was organized by MotorK - an Italian company at the forefront of car distribution services throughout Europe - in collaboration with IAB Italia, a world-leading association in the field of digital advertising, and looked at the current advertising trends and investments in the automotive sector.

The survey took place in five European countries (Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Great Britain), and was accomplished by cross checking the current degree of digitization among dealerships with user’s behaviour in all the purchasing phases: from searching for information to requesting a quote, from negotiations to the actual purchase of the vehicle.

The act of buying a car is now facing one of its most crucial moments not to mention great changes, affecting the work of manufacturers, distributors, consumers and the entire digital industry. Automatic vehicle distributors and online self-service purchasing are no longer just science fiction, and a number of examples in Europe are an evident demonstration of this; such practices, however, are still far from being the only realities: nowadays, the most common purchasing approach is carried out seamlessly online and offline.

«Dealers have both the time and the tools necessary to tackle this epoch-making paradigm shift,  declares Marco Marlia, founder and CEO of MotorK, creators of Internet Motors. Customers are asking for a simplification of the buying experience, plus an after-sales system with high levels of service and great product flexibility. In the next five years we’ll have to work together with the dealers to guarantee a complete digital transformation, necessary to catch that 79% of users who are still keen on using offline channels».

The reaction of the advertising world to this change was equally quick: according to the latest Nielsen data, investments in digital advertising in 2018 will grow by 9.4% over the previous year: far more than the digital market average, which will stop at 7.9%.

"Looking at how technology is changing the purchasing approach of an asset such as a car, which has always relied on tangible elements such as a personal visit to the dealership or a road test, shows us once more how much the digital industry has radically influenced every area of our daily life" declared Daniele Sesini, Director General of IAB Italia. "This being said, it’s quite obvious that all digital advertising players must operate in a way that takes into account the relentless evolution of the market, becoming skilled at using new technologies to meet current and future customer needs, and to communicate ever more effectively”.



Up until recently, buying a car was a rather trying time for the average consumer, who could rely solely on what was said by the seller, the manufacturer and specialized media. Today, customers "study" the car long before going to a dealership: thanks to the web, all relevant information is one click away (according to the latest Google data in 53% of cases searching for a car starts online and in 39% from a search engine). And yet, confusion, fear and frustration are still the prevailing sentiments in the buying process: the first is typical throughout the buying process, the second appears at the moment of purchasing and the third, finally, might appear after purchasing the car, as worries about running costs take over, along with the regret, perhaps, of having bought the wrong car.

* The Customer Journey is the path - more or less conscious - that all of us, when acting as customers, take from the first contact with a particular company, on a specific channel - both offline and online - until, crossing one or more touch-points provided by the company itself or by other consumers, we decide to buy or not. In other words, customer journey can be defined as the journey each consumer faces, from the first contact with a company, until a decision is made whether to purchase or not.


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