Nearly One-Third of In-Market Automotive Shoppers Use a Mobile Phone to Shop for a Vehicle

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Acura and Kia Rank Highest in a Tie in Automotive Mobile Site Satisfaction

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 23 October 2012 — Smartphones are quickly becoming a major source of information among in-market automotive shoppers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Automotive Mobile Site Study.SM

The study examines the features and content of automotive manufacturer mobile websites and their usefulness in engaging shoppers who use a mobile phone during their vehicle-shopping process. The study assists manufacturers in developing mobile sites that meet the needs of an ever-growing population of online shoppers who use smartphones in their vehicle-shopping process.

In 2012, 31 percent of in-market vehicle shoppers have visited automotive websites via their smartphone, compared with 24 percent in 2011 and 17 percent in 2010. These same shoppers access third party sites and manufacturer sites at similar rates (69% and 68%, respectively). Additionally, more than one-half (53%) of these in-market shoppers access automotive content while physically at the dealership.

"As shoppers increasingly use their mobile device to gather information during the shopping process and even at the point of purchase, the importance and value of mobile websites to both manufacturers and shoppers alike grow exponentially," said Arianne Walker, senior director of media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power and Associates.

The top five types of information shoppers seek on mobile automotive websites are:

  1. Vehicle pricing (66%)
  2. Model information (54%)
  3. Photo galleries (53%)
  4. Vehicle reviews/ratings (52%)
  5. Compare vehicles (47%)

In just two years, automotive manufacturers have dramatically shifted the design, layout and navigation of their website in order to keep up with online shopper usage and mobile device sophistication. Previously, many mobile websites were text-based, with linear layouts and small text links that were designed for trackball and cursor navigation. In 2012, manufacturer sites that perform particularly well in appearance and navigation feature large, dynamic images and links that are suitable for touch-screen use. Additionally, current mobile websites host notably more content, replicating much of the desktop/laptop and tablet versions of websites that make the important content readily accessible anytime and anywhere.  Previous mobile websites featured limited content as a supplement to desktop websites.

Although the percentage of shoppers using mobile websites to search for information during the shopping process has increased, satisfaction with mobile websites is not nearly as high as with tablet and desktop/laptop versions of manufacturers' websites. Overall satisfaction with mobile sites is 767 (on a 1,000-point scale), compared with 818 for desktop/laptop and 824 for tablet versions of manufacturer websites.

"As usage trends continue to shift, mobile website developers are challenged to bring satisfaction up to par with that for other devices," said Walker. "Many of these challenges involve providing the content that shoppers want without sacrificing speed, consistency and ease of navigation, as well as providing a visually appealing site for smaller screens."

Automotive Mobile Site Rankings

Acura and Kia rank highest in the study in a tie, each with a score of 794. Acura performs particularly well in information/content, while Kia performs particularly well in speed and appearance. Following Acura and Kia in the rankings are Mazda (789); GMC (787); and Jaguar and Ram in a tie (785).

The 2012 Automotive Mobile Site Study includes 9,131 evaluations of automotive mobile websites from vehicle shoppers who intend to purchase or lease a vehicle within the next two years. The study was fielded in August 2012.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at

Media Relations Contacts:

John Tews; J.D. Power and Associates; Troy, Mich.; (248) 680-6218;
Syvetril Perryman; J.D. Power and Associates; Westlake Village, Calif.; (805) 418-8103;

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No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates.

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(248) 680-6218

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