Press release

UK Automotive industry secures top scores for customer satisfaction online

Automotive outperforms nine industries in Auto Trader Digital Excellence Study.

17th July 2017 – London: According to the latest study from Auto Trader, the UK’s largest new and used car marketplace, the UK automotive sector is digitally out-performing a variety of comparable industries. The 2017 Auto Trader Digital Excellence Study is based on 40,000 reviews from 10,000 consumers, rating 145 websites of the leading brands across 10 comparable industries. When asked to review the overall website experience, 37% of consumers scored the automotive sites a nine or 10, placing it above the cross-industry average of 35%. It also ranked a respectable third place, behind the Finance and Travel sectors (both recording 38%).

In an increasingly digitally led market, the results paint a positive picture for the industry. However, when the automotive sector is split, a clear disparity emerges. Whilst manufacturers increased to a leading 39%, each of the retail sectors dropped below the adjusted average of 36%. Franchise and supermarket both recorded 35%, whilst just 33% of consumers rated independent websites a nine or 10, placing them amongst the three lowest scoring industries (Insurance at 32% and Broadband/Telecoms 30%).

It’s reassuring – and hugely impressive – to see that when it comes to their respective homepages, the whole automotive industry is well above the cross-industry average (26%). Manufacturers led the pack with 37%, franchise and independent dealers both scored 34%, and supermarkets 32%, which was still a healthy 3% ahead of the closest competing industry (Travel at 29%).

The Digital Excellence Study also highlighted the gap between perception and reality when it comes to trust. As previous studies have shown, there remains a level of distrust for car dealers. However, when asked to review the level of trust and transparency of the respective automotive websites, 27% of consumers rated the automotive industry a nine or 10; comfortably above the 24% average. Even when split between sectors, retail too is performing well with both franchise and supermarket recording 25%. Independent dealers sat slightly below the average at 23%.

Nick King, Auto Trader’s Insight Director, commented: “This is a hugely positive result and we’re thrilled to see the automotive industry perform well against other sectors, especially when it comes to trust, something which is so vital to the success of today’s dealers. The automotive sector should strive to become the benchmark in digital excellence for all other industries, and while we have some way to go, we’re clearly heading in the right direction.”

At a time when trust, transparency and the quality of the digital experience can make the difference between a sale or not, there remains significant room for improvement. In an accompanying survey, of the 10 comparable industries, automotive sat amongst the top three identified as having the most baffling jargon. Only financial products (29%) and mobile phones (26%) topped new (24%) and used cars (23%) for the amount of confusing language. Perhaps not surprisingly, finance terms were highlighted as those most often misunderstood by consumers; with so much of the automotive industry now dependent on finance, it’s troubling so many car buyers are left confused by its terminology.

Underpinning just how fundamental trust and transparency has become in today’s automotive sector, our study showed that the biggest pet peeves amongst consumers when visiting a car dealer’s website are a lack of car photos (47%) no car reviews (38%) and no reviews of the dealership (38%). On the opposite end of the scale, just 10% of consumers claimed that not being able to find a dealer on social media was a pet peeve. The study revealed that the need for transparency is even greater amongst younger people; 51% of consumers aged 20-34 identified no car photos as their biggest pet peeve, compared to 42% of consumers aged 50-69. It was a similar story for no car reviews (39% / 35%) and no reviews of the dealership (41%/34%).

Nick continued: “Our study shows that a lot of progress has been made, but the overall digital experience clearly requires some fine tuning. Offering well-presented and clear imagery that reflect the true condition of the car, pricing that is in line with the market and reviews that offer genuine insight are all key to building the all-important trust. What’s more, at a time when car buyers have so much choice, creating a rich, jargon-free digital experience is vital in not only standing out in an increasingly competitive market, but also converting a visit to a sale.”

 About the Auto Trader Digital Excellence Study

The Auto Trader Digital Excellence Study was compiled using 40,000 reviews from 10,000 consumers rating 145 of the UK’s busiest websites (according to comScore data) across 10 comparable industries: Automotive, Property, Consumer Electronics, Retail & Home, Transport, Travel (overseas holidays), Broadband/ Telecoms, Mobile, Insurance, and Finance. The study included many of the respective industry leading brands, including: BT, Virgin Media, Sky, O2, TalkTalk, Expedia, Booking.com, EasyJet, British Airways, Trainline, Stagecoach, AXA, Saga, AO.com, Homebase, Ikea, Richer Sounds, Currys PC World, Direct Line, B&Q, Admiral, Dunelm, Skyscanner, Trivago, Priceline, Appliances Direct, Maplin, Aviva, Plus Net, Homebase, GiffGaff, EE, Halifax, Barclays, Lloyds TSB, 3, RBS, Gumtree, Zoopla, Primelocation.com, Vodafone, RBS, PayPal, Rightmove, and Auto Trader. To measure digital excellence an Index was created by gathering the average top two box scores (9/10 and 10/10) that consumers gave each website when rating trust and transparency and overall website.

About Auto Trader

Auto Trader Group plc is the UK and Ireland’s largest digital automotive marketplace. Auto Trader sits at the heart of the UK’s vehicle buying process and its primary activity is to help vehicle retailers compete effectively on the marketplace in order to sell more vehicles, faster. Auto Trader listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2015 and is now a member of the FTSE 250 Index.

The marketplace brings together the largest and most engaged consumer audience. Auto Trader has over 90% prompted brand awareness and attracts an average of 60 million monthly cross platform visits a month, with circa 70% of visits coming through mobile devices.

The marketplace also has the largest pool of vehicle sellers (listing more than 470,000 cars each day). Over 80% of UK automotive retailers advertise on autotrader.co.uk.

For all trade media enquiries, please contact:

Andrew Nankervis – Senior PR Manager, Auto Trader

Email: andrew.nankervis@autotrader.co.uk

Tel: +44 203 747 7234

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