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Study Shows Customers Still Value People Over Social Media In Car Buying

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On: Wed, Aug 22, 2012 at 12:49PM | By: Chris Weiss

Study Shows Customers Still Value People Over Social Media In Car Buying

We've seen social media climb in importance in the automotive industry over the past few years. Social media now sometimes serves in place of auto shows when it comes to new model reveals and announcements. It's a tool for advertising campaigns and contests. It sometimes even serves as the design department. According to a new study, however, it isn't yet a top resource affecting auto buying behavior.

In what it calls the largest automotive study in North America, consumer research firm Maritz Research finds that close to 22 percent of auto buyers report that the good old fashioned salesperson is still the most influential source of information. In fact, the salesperson took a big leap in 2011, surging higher than the previous five years.

While a Maritz press release notes that social media is not the most influential source of information, its research doesn't list social media specifically. The second most influential source (18.7 percent) is friends/family/word of mouth, which could presumably include social media, though certainly wouldn't be limited to such outlets.

The third most influential source (18.4 percent) is consumer guides, with manufacturer/dealer websites (8.6 percent) and third-party websites (6.4 percent) following. Sources like magazine reviews, television commercials and brochures occupy the bottom rung.

"People buy from people," says Chris Travell, vice president and strategic consultant for Maritz Research. "Social media can certainly support the selling effort, but I believe it would be a mistake to believe that social media will usurp it."

Until there's a Facebook app for buying and delivering a car, that is.


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