The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone, which signals the beginning of the holiday shopping season. On Black Friday, millions of shoppers braved long lines outside of their favorite retailers, hoping to take advantage of heavily advertised bargains. The window of savings did not close on Friday, however, as today is Cyber Monday, another shopping event that offers an additional day of savings for consumers. Cyber Monday is rapidly catching up to Black Friday in terms of popularity. According to USA Today, “Some 122 million Americans are expected to take to their computers, smartphones or other devices to scoop up bargains, up by 1 million from a year ago, the National Retail Federation forecasts.” The increasing popularity of Cyber Monday is emblematic of a sea of change in how Americans prefer to shop.
The internet has made shopping easier, and internet shopping has become a mainstay for the majority of Americans. Per Big Commerce, “According to a new study examining the online shopping and purchase habits of the U.S. population, results show that 96 percent of Americans are shopping online, spending an average of five hours per week making online purchases and allocating an average of 36% of their shopping budgets to ecommerce.” In addition to everyday items, Americans are also increasingly utilizing the internet when shopping for their next vehicle.
While the current perception of the car buying process involves a brick and mortar store and a pushy salesperson, the reality is that the internet plays a substantial role. According to Accenture, a “survey of 10,000 consumers in eight major countries found that 80 percent of drivers seeking to purchase a new vehicle are using some form of digital technology to research their buying preferences.” The same study found that approximately 3 out of 4 car shoppers would at least consider conducting the entire car buying process, from beginning to end, online. Convenience and a plethora of information make the internet a particularly useful tool when shopping for a vehicle.
Though the internet has certainly made its mark on the car buying process, many buyers still want a hands-on experience. According to Automotive Megatrends “43% of study respondents said they see the dealership as a place to learn, and these consumers are looking to validate information they found online, learn about specials and offers, and learn about warranty and service.” Those who prefer to actually kick the tires before purchasing a new car are one of the primary reasons why physical dealerships continue to be a significant part of the car buying process.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday both have their distinct advantages. On Black Friday, shoppers can physically interact with products and have a more hands-on shopping experience. On Cyber Monday, consumers can conduct their business in an equally informed, informal fashion, with the added convenience of shopping from the comforts of home. Just as many Americans are moving their Christmas shopping online, the internet is also having an increasing impact on the car buying process. As the online car buying process continues to improve, look for more buyers to opt for cyber-shopping when purchasing their next vehicle.