Thirty eight percent of U.S. auto buyers are willing to drive more than an hour for their best deal, highlighting the importance of aggressive advertising by dealers.  The Fall 2009 Ad-ology Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey also found online media is now more influential than social or traditional media on auto purchasing/leasing decisions.Consumer Spending logo

Manufacturer Web sites influenced nearly half of recent purchasers.  Search results and online video were also influential, and nearly twice as many males as females reported influence from online video.  Traditional media is still influential for automotive sales.  Newspaper was the most influential traditional media overall, particularly so for older demographics, Asians, and African Americans.

Social media had the most effect on buyers under the age of 54, females, and higher-income consumers.  Auto purchasers who use Twitter say social networks influenced their purchase more than users of other social networks.

“The growing influence of online media has created the opportunity for price-sensitive consumers to shop beyond their own backyard,” said C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research. “Dealerships must promote themselves consistently because they have more competition than might be readily apparent,” Smith said.

Other key findings from the survey:

  • 63% of consumers contacted more than one dealer during the decision-making process.
  • Nearly 16% of U.S. consumers intend to purchase a new or used vehicle within the next year.
  • After the vehicles themselves, the topics most researched online by auto purchasers were:  Trade-in values, auto insurance, and gas mileage.
  • Television was the most influential traditional media for 25-to-34-year old auto buyers.
  • Blackberry and iPhone users were more than twice as likely than other mobile phone users to have their auto purchase influenced by support of a cause or charity.

“Fall 2009 Ad-ology Media Influence on Consumer Choice,” survey conducted by Ad-ology Research, October 23, 2009.  Website: www.ad-ology.com.