AutoMotion Blog

Canadian Car Buyers Less Satisfied with Websites than U.S. Car Buyers

By: Jeff Youngs, 5/8/2014
By a significant margin, Canadian consumers are less satisfied with their experience using auto manufacturer websites than are U.S. consumers. According to the J.D. Power 2014 Canadian Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study,SM Canadian auto manufacturer websites perform significantly lower than U.S. auto manufacturer websites across all study measures.

"Compared with U.S. consumers in general, Canadians tend to be more critical and have higher expectations for big-ticket purchases, such as houses and vehicles," said J.D. Ney, manager, automotive research and consulting at J.D. Power. "As consumers' expectations of OEM websites continue to grow, automakers must keep pace by constantly improving their websites."

The annual study measures customer satisfaction with a website's information/content, appearance, navigation, and speed. While J.D. Power acknowledges that Canadian and U.S. websites share much of their information and content, it is how the content is executed in terms of appearance that is a contributor to reduced satisfaction by Canadian consumers.

Getting this right is critical to converting shoppers into buyers. According to the study, among shoppers using desktop computers who say they are "delighted" by their experience on a manufacturer's website, 72% are likely to test drive a vehicle after visiting the website compared with just 20% who say they are "disappointed" by their experience.

"With the greatest opportunity for improvement occurring in the appearance measure, Canadian OEMs should look to other automotive and non-automotive websites their shoppers are visiting as a baseline for current expectations and trends in the market," said Ney.

The study also finds that 89% of Canadian car shoppers view exterior images, 81% view interior images, and 25% view video on auto manufacturer websites. Among those using video, 31% want video that showcases specific vehicle features and which demonstrate real-life use of the vehicle. More than half of survey respondents would like to see improvement in terms of ability to find a vehicle in dealership inventory.

Among the 27 rank-eligible auto brands, Toyota, Buick, and Volvo websites achieve the highest scores in the 2014 Canadian Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study, in that order.

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