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Study Finds Car Shoppers Love Shopping But Hate the Buying Process

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Car shoppers enjoy the shopping experience but are dissatisfied with the traditional dealer purchasing process.

By (CarEdge Staff) | Published on March 23rd, 2021 | Last Updated on
By (CarEdge Staff)
Published on March 23rd, 2021. Last Updated on .

BOSTON, March 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --, an automotive research and vehicle listings marketplace, today released a consumer sentiment study focusing on the vehicle shopping and buying process. The study highlights that consumers looking to purchase a vehicle enjoy the shopping experience, but are dissatisfied with the traditional dealer purchasing process—and deem it one of their least favorite activities.

Highlights of the Study Found:

  • 70% actually enjoy shopping for a vehicle

  • 47% feel they purchased their vehicle at a fair price, while 29% felt taken advantage of or had negative feelings towards the dealership

  • 44% would prefer to avoid dealerships completely, while 38% have to search for a dealer they like, and only 18% are loyal to a specific dealer

  • 60% felt that negotiating with the salesperson and the post-purchase paperwork were their least-favorite parts of the vehicle purchase process

  • 52% would like to outsource the price negotiation process or vehicle selection process to someone else

  • 88% would find it helpful, or would consider, a vehicle recommendation from an independent third party

  • Themes of respondents’ comments also included a desire for more pricing transparency, less post-purchase up-sells, and fulfillment of advertised prices

Study Conclusions

Survey participants clearly showed a keen interest in car shopping and enjoyed doing so, but turned decidedly negative when price negotiations began. Their interactions and negotiations with the salesperson and finance manager were clearly experiences that they wished to avoid. This is most evident, as more than half of the respondents would prefer that someone would negotiate for, or actually choose, the vehicle for them. More than 1 in 4 felt that they received a bad deal, and were unhappy with the final sales price. Independent recommendations were sought out, as 7 of 8 valued a recommendation from an unbiased source. Survey participants also showed little loyalty for a particular dealer, with less than 1 in 5 having a specific dealer that they consider their preferred resource for vehicle purchases.

What should be a fun and exciting experience for consumers, continues to be a source of angst and stress. With almost half of respondents wishing to avoid dealerships completely, it is evident that there is an ongoing opportunity to find a vehicle purchasing process that results in a better customer experience. As traditional dealers turn to online and home-delivery purchasing options, it will be essential for them to review their customer buying process to ensure that they are delivering pleasant experiences that result in repeat customers. While several new business models are attempting to correct this problem, it is apparent that more work needs to be done within the industry.


Survey participants consisted of 321 CarEdge site visitors during February and March 2021, who had visited the site’s Research pages, and had the following characteristics:

  • 77% consider themselves interested in cars or car enthusiasts

  • 76% are actively shopping for a vehicle (of those shopping, 41% intend to purchase within 2-3 weeks, and 31% within the next 2-3 months)

  • 67% conduct extensive research before making a vehicle purchase

About is an automotive research and listings site that offers data, analysis and insights for vehicle shoppers. is one of the fastest-growing automotive sites in the US, and has provided 1.5 million automobile shoppers and enthusiasts with 7 million pageviews of the tools and analytics they need to make educated, well-informed vehicle purchase decisions.* has attracted a loyal following for its candid, unbiased assessments of vehicle costs and resale values, and is a subject matter expert in the field of vehicle depreciation rates. also partners with third-party automotive sites to provide research data, analytics and access to 100,000 monthly vehicle researchers and buyers.

For further information, visit, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter

*Site visitors are organically-sourced, with virtually no paid advertising or promotion. The figures also include website traffic from’s predecessor site, Source: Google Analytics


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