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Growth Digital: Car buying trends changed with COVID-19 pandemic

Puerto Rico consumers changed their buying habits, particularly related to cars, during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they moved more toward using online tools to get better deals and prices, according to Growth Digital, Google’s marketing arm.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer expectations changed and now they “want much more digital experiences that are easier, and at the palm of their hand,” said Mariel Nigaglioni, sales consultant at Growth Digital.

“The pandemic has brought many changes in our lives, especially in the areas of consumption and for us as consumers, with transportation and vehicle purchase one of the most significant,” she said.

According to statistics provided by the digital firm’s Google Gearshift 2020 report, 48% of consumers surveyed expect to find car deals through special incentives, followed by 43% of them who seek online purchasing options, and 37% who want reduced contact with salespeople.

In the survey, Google asked participating consumers what their expectations are as a car buyer from auto dealers and manufacturers in the face of the “critical global situation due to COVID-19.”

Other statistics show that enhanced dealer communication is a top priority for consumers, at 67%, a trend that has changed most of the industry to a more virtual concept, while fewer than a 53% is looking for more direct contact with its clients.

“We have different objectives, depending on the moment. Among them are the different objectives of traffic to the consumer site, calls, views, leads and finally the purchase. I say this as a full funnel strategy that invites us to have all the objectives of our purchasing strategies well defined,” said German Aranda, sales consultant at Growth Digital.

With its buyers aiming for online purchases, Google’s online research has shown to have increased as well. More than 78% of car buyers use Google as their search engine, 62% use dealership websites and about 63% use mobile search engines.

The research also showed that the public’s interest for the best “time” to buy a car was set between March and April 2020 — at the beginning of the pandemic — when would use the time to compare models and prices.

The research showed that consumers tend to rely on YouTube videos of a 360-view or test drives, that prove the car’s effectiveness. Sellers are also taking advantage of the opportunity in platforms to promote their products through ads, since it is shown that 85% of consumers act upon something that catches their attention.

These ads are mostly placed on Gmail, YouTube, and the same Google engine searches. Nissan proved its effectiveness as its market share went up from 6% to a 7.4% due to their prepromotion ads placed online, the study showed.

Author Details
Author Details
Yamilet Aponte-Claudio was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She graduated from Colegio Nuestra Señora de la Providencia and is currently a sophomore at Sacred Heart University. Majoring in Journalism and adding a minor in accounting and foreign languages, she aspires to study law after obtaining her bachelor’s degree.
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