CARPROOF study peers into consumers’ minds


On June 23, CARPROOF released the findings of its first research study, Into the Minds of Consumers, providing insights about the used vehicle path to purchase.

CARPROOF researchers wanted to know how used vehicle buyers go from recognizing they need a vehicle and deciding where to get it, to closing the deal and driving off the lot.

CARPROOF says the study “takes a fresh look at the used car purchase process, in an effort to help the Canadian automotive industry better understand why consumers are looking for a used car, where they are looking, and the best strategies to reach them.”

CARPROOF research has discovered two key paths to purchase for today’s used vehicle buyers.

• First, there are car-hunters, buyers who go straight to the Internet and focus on finding the perfect vehicle without considering which dealership they will buy it from.

• Second, there are dealer-deciders who seek advice from their friends and family to find a dealership with a great reputation so they can shop there for their next vehicle.

CarProof says the study gives Canadian automotive dealers a clearer understanding of where car-hunters and dealer-deciders are shopping, the most effective ways to attract them, and a view into their behaviour, pain-points and preferences.

“CARPROOF is a data company at its core – we have an extensive amount of unique data that empowers the Canadian used car industry,” says Mark Rousseau CARPROOF president.

“This particular data-set provides surprising new information about the way used car buyers are shopping, which will be very insightful to dealerships looking to find new customers and build relationships that bring them back for their next purchase.”

Some Findings

• Car-hunters account for 60 per cent of used car buyers. They rely on online listings, both independent listing websites and dealership websites. Attracting their business is all about online listings. 68 per cent of their time is spent online.

• To attract car-hunters, a dealer needs to maintain current and comprehensive listings, including those at independent sites as well as their own.

• Dealer-deciders account for 40 per cent of used car buyers. They search for a dealership with a great reputation where they can shop.

• All vehicle buyers want to know that a vehicle is in top current condition, as well as its mileage, accident history, open recall information and maintenance history, the number and types of owners – personal, commercial, rental. Ensuring these factors are prominently included in any source of vehicle information can give a dealer the edge over their competitors.

• 63 per cent of car-hunters will consider a car with an accident history.

• Posting a VHR builds trust.

• Private buyers. 54% of private buyers bought privately because of price. They don’t want to invest money in reconditioning. The dealer should highlight how much was spent to get the dealer spent getting the vehicle into top condition.

• To convert a car-hunter, keep in mind 44 per cent buy from the first dealership they visit. Streamlining paperwork and negotiation are key.

• When shoppers see VHRs online, they avoid cars that don’t have one.

The study was released June 23 to encourage dealer success throughout the summer car-selling season.

Into the Minds of Consumers is available at as a free download.