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Fall Ahead: Dealer Sites Enjoy Autumn Upswing

November 20, 2017

Dealer.com’s analysts say a strong November could signal a season’s worth of dealer website traffic in what is typically a slow post-summer period. Photo by Dean Hochman
Dealer.com’s analysts say a strong November could signal a season’s worth of dealer website traffic in what is typically a slow post-summer period. Photo by Dean Hochman

ATLANTA — Summer’s car shopping peak may be in the rearview mirror, but the autumn chill isn’t leaving dealers out in the cold. That is the main finding from Dealer.com’s November Dealer DataView index, which captures year-to-date data through Oct. 31. The index showed that after a relatively light post-summer dip, total traffic to dealership websites is once again on the rise, growing by 3% in October from September. Vehicle detail page (VDP) views, a strong indicator of sales intent, also rose by 2% last month.

Taken together, these trends suggest a relatively robust selling climate this fall, as dealers gear up for a Black Friday and Cyber Monday jump in activity. However, insights from last year regarding credit application volume — a leading indicator of purchase intent — suggest that dealers have a compelling reason to prioritize Black Friday over the rest of the holiday weekend. Dealertrack data from 2016 revealed a nearly 40% rise in credit applications on Black Friday compared to other Fridays in that month, while Cyber Monday registered only a 2.6% growth over other Mondays in November 2016.

The November DataView index confirms that engagement trends remained remarkably consistent with 2017’s overall pattern of increased mobile traffic and SUV popularity. Mobile traffic is holding steady month over month, accounting for 57% of total visits in October. SUVs remained the most popular body style at 35% of all VDP views.

Search advertising cost-per-click (CPC), another bellwether for demand, climbed for the third consecutive month and is now averaging $3.51 nationally, with a fairly wide regional spread. The East South Central region registered the lowest CPC at $2.96, while the Mid-Atlantic region commanded a CPC rate of $3.81. Advertising decisionmakers may once again need to adjust their budget to account for this continuing upward trend.

“The DataView index provides a timely snapshot and actionable insights for dealers seeking to better understand consumer sentiment,” said James Grace, senior director of analytics products for Cox Automotive Media Solutions. “As dealers gear up for the holiday season, the November report points to another period of robust demand and purchase intent from car shoppers.”

The data referenced above is based on visits to Dealer.com hosted websites. For more insights and to view the full November DataView report featuring detailed regional breakdowns, click here.

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