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Take a Stroll on the Wild Side - UK's Digital Car Buying Uncovered

10th December 2014

Are you a 'stroller' or even a 'sprinter'? These are not references to exercise preferences – they are actually terms used to describe how we make car purchasing decisions.

These phrases have been identified through the Haymarket Media Group's uniquely commissioned study which delves into the way people use connected devices such as tablets and smartphones when planning their next car purchase.

The car buyers journey - on and off line

The results – summarised in a report entitled 'Digital Ethnography' - is the first of its kind and identifies consumers as one (or a combination) of the following. What exactly do these mean – and which one are you?

Hikers (apparently) prefer the long-distance, but arguably more reliable, mode of laptop or PC for their car searches.

Strollers on the other hand are more likely to view information - such as videos - on a tablet in order to share the process with friends and family before making their final decision.

Sprinters often use their smartphones to browse during down-time – such as time spent on the commute home on the bus or train. This group prefer the more immediate and spontaneous results offered by smartphones.

"From research to purchase, each device has a clear preferred role, based on convenience, plus the needs and desires of the buyer," said Haymarket strategy and planning director, Neel Desor. He added: "The information consumers want during the car-purchase journey has not changed; it is the way that they consume this information that has changed."

It appears we spend less time looking for new cars too. The data showed that consumers spend 76 minutes over 56 days looking for a new car, in comparison to 165 minutes over 147 days for a used model.

What does this mean for the future of the automotive industry? "The biggest challenge is how manufacturers continue to tackle the multi-device journey," said Desor. "As we all know, the opportunities to engage with buyers are limited and, in order to 'seal the deal', brands need their digital experiences to mirror customer behaviour much better."

Now – which one are you?