Online sales are gaining in importance

The car trade is coming under increasing pressure. More and more people are buying and comparing online and are less inhibited than a few years ago to change their traditional dealer. A study by Accenture reveals how car dealers in Germany, France and the UK feel about online marketing and modern customer needs.

The automotive industry is undergoing change. Sales are falling, while the pressure from online trading and new business areas of the manufacturers is growing. The technology company Accenture surveyed authorised dealers and independent dealers in Germany, France and Great Britain and produced a cross-section of the situation in the car trade.

The pressure of competition is growing.

According to this, automotive companies fear above all the growing competitive pressure. Around 36 percent said that they would be put under pressure by growing intra-brand competition and as many as 38 percent felt threatened by dealers of other brands. This development is due to the fact that customers have long since stopped staying with one and the same dealer, as was the case in the past. In the meantime, all kinds of offers are being called in and customers are switching flexibly between different suppliers. On the other hand, expectations and price sensitivity have increased. Around 85 percent of all retailers surveyed reported experiences with haggling customers who, in the age of the smartphone, have no problem referring to the offers of the competition and thus put pressure on prices.

Nowadays, customers no longer rely solely on the information provided by the local car dealership. Instead, various sources are consulted to find the best offer. The development that was already foreseeable when buying electronic and consumer goods has now also reached the purchase of cars.

Online marketing is becoming increasingly important

29 percent of the car dealers surveyed by Accenture now also rely on online trading via third-party providers, 28 percent even have a shop operated jointly with the manufacturer. For 21 percent of the dealers, their own shop is now a reality. This shows the change within the industry towards new sales channels. At the same time, almost a third of those surveyed see a lot of competition in online retailing. On the net, customers have access to cheaper new cars and a wider range of products that local dealers cannot compete with. Round-the-clock availability is also an important factor: where the local dealer has company holidays, online sales can be reliably accessed at night and even on public holidays. Companies with a small team cannot keep up with this alone due to a lack of resources.

Service lags behind

However, even retailers with their own online shops lag behind the competition from other industries in terms of service. Only just under half of the dealers make it possible to book a test drive via their own website. Those who want to make an appointment online have even worse chances, as only 42 percent of the dealers surveyed by Accenture currently offer this option at all. The car dealership industry is changing. The increasing expectations of customers on the one hand and the growing competition from online sales on the other hand make the coming challenges one of the biggest the industry has had to deal with so far. A rethink is needed to ensure that the car trade is secure in the future. In detail, this means: comprehensive online offers and a high level of convenience for customers who are no longer willing to wait for an appointment or pay a higher price if the competition offers better service.

Any more questions? Would you like more information? We look forward to hearing from you.

Feel free to contact us today to discuss your challenges and to learn more about whether Automanager is the right tool for you.
Our tip
On trend
Recommended articles