Car buying is becoming a time-consuming marathon, and buyers are leaving the dealership much less satisfied with the experience, says a new report.
According to Cox Automotive, a research and advisory firm, in 2022 the average car buyer will spend 14 hours and 39 minutes researching, shopping and purchasing their vehicle. That’s an 18% increase from 2021, when buyers spent an average of 12 hours and 27 minutes going through the process.
What the research says
Based on a survey of 10,000 auto buyers and buyers, Cox found that customer satisfaction is declining: the proportion of buyers who were highly satisfied fell from 66% in 2021 to 61% in 2022.
- Most of the decline in satisfaction came from the used car market. While the proportion of highly satisfied new car buyers only fell from 71% to 70%, the proportion of highly satisfied used car buyers fell from 65% to 58%.
- The increase in the time buyers spent on the process was just one factor contributing to the drop in satisfaction. Limited inventory and high prices also made the experience more difficult, reports Cox.
Why it matters
Buying a car could always be a hassle, but in the past year it has become a more tedious process for the average buyer, and the experience has been less pleasant.
- The average shopper spent an extra hour researching and shopping online while also spending about 20 more minutes at the retailer.
- Buyers cited limited inventory as one of the reasons they had to spend more time looking for cars. “In 2022, the shopping experience was less about finding the PERFECT vehicle and more about finding ANY vehicle,” said Cox’s report.
- Fewer buyers leave the buying process feeling good about the price they end up paying. As car prices hit new records in 2022, the proportion of buyers who were satisfied with their purchase price dropped from 63% to 48%.
Buying a car has not only become more expensive, but also more frustrating and time-consuming.
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