The Value – Issue #18: Canadian Black Book Investing to Break Down Automotive Online Behaviour

June 17 2019
Michele Fariello

Welcome to Canadian Black Book's - The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:

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    By: Cole Reiken, Vice-President of Digital Strategy and Product Management

    The idea of car shoppers going online before they buy a car is nothing new.  Although it is a rapidly growing phenomena, across all age segments.  Vehicle shoppers conduct all varieties of research online from reviews, to incentives, to pricing, to options and more.  Canadian Black Book has invested in learning more about consumer habits and dependence on online research particularly prior to heading into the dealership and how it can drive foot traffic into the showroom.

    In April 2019, Canadian Black Book started working with Freckle a first-party data company specializing in media measurement – to measure how is driving physical customer visits into Canadian automotive dealerships.

    What Freckle’s unique method of tracking web traffic converting into store traffic found was that one of the last things consumers do before stepping foot into the dealership is look up a trade-in value.  With 150 to 200 thousand values lookups per month on, from in market car shoppers, the sample size is substantial.

    The study shows that drives thousands of physical dealership visits, an attribution rate of 0.334%, which is double the Canadian automotive industry benchmark.

    The Freckle research of web traffic showed that the recently redesigned website is a strong driver of physical foot traffic into Canadian dealerships.  The study showed that web traffic from converted into actual dealership visits in an average of only four days.

    This result suggests that value lookups are among the final steps in online car shopping.  Freckle found that the ‘evaluation pages’ on the site are in fact the strongest performers in driving physical dealership visits.

    Research conducted earlier this year by Ipsos, for Canadian Black Book, suggest that 60 per cent of Canadian car shoppers as a first choice, use online vehicle trade-in calculators to research vehicle values.  Online valuation calculators were chosen 20% more often than dealer websites, almost double that of online classified sites, and far more often that reviews, social media or forums.  71% of car shoppers in Canada are aware of Canadian Black Book’s free online valuations tools, while over one third have actually used trade-in calculator.  The research shows 35% of Canadian car buyers have also used the Canadian Black Book listings to shop for vehicles.

    In Q1 2019, Freckle conducted a broader Canadian Automotive study focusing on the Canadian auto shopper and the car buying process. Among the findings, the study found that car buyers spent 60% of their time researching their vehicle purchase online at an average of 14 and a half hours.  On the other end of the spectrum, this study also suggested that only 18% are driven into the dealership by traditional promotions.  The Canadian Automotive Study highlights a number of very interesting findings, many of which illustrate a changing journey through the vehicle shopping and sales experience.