August proved to be a strong month for sales – SUVs in particular – with an estimated 1.5 million new vehicles sold, putting 2014 on pace to be the strongest year for sales since 2006. Summer is always a peak season for dealerships, with summer marketing campaigns focused on the three major holidays – Memorial, Independence and Labor days – offering more incentives to bring in higher sales. Collectively, these holiday initiatives help boost the overall traffic and performance typically seen in the busy car-selling summer months.
When looking at 2011-2014 in aggregate, total website and mobile traffic leading up to Labor Day and Memorial Day increased by 8 percent. The most notable increase seen across the Dealer.com platform was in mobile traffic with a 10 percent increase leading up to Labor Day as consumers are using mobile phones to begin the car buying experience with online research.
As we noted last month, shoppers are continuing to spend more time and view more pages on mobile devices. In August, shoppers spent 108 percent more time on mobile devices when compared to July 2013, supporting the shift we’ve seen in the car shopping experience to one of fewer phases.
Looking ahead to Q4 and the busy holiday season, we anticipate more manufacturers and dealers will invest in digital advertising to sustain sales momentum, as well as optimize the digital experience to keep customers connected with inventory. As screen sizes continue to get bigger, shoppers are going to expect a higher level of engagement and sophistication on mobile to meet their shopping demands.
For additional perspective on how dealers are responding to the shift in the way consumers shop for cars, watch this segment on Bloomberg TV’s “Taking Stock.” A
Dave Winslow is Chief Digital Strategist at Dealer.com