The biggest influencer when it comes to buying your next car is… the dealership salesperson. That, at least, is the result of the Maritz Research New Vehicle Customer Study – touted to be the largest such study in North America.
In total, 21.89 percent of car shoppers surveyed last year said the dealership salesperson had the largest impact on their purchase or lease decision, with relatives and friends ranking second at 18.66 percent.
Chris Travell, vice president of Maritz Research downplayed the importance of social media and said that both Facebook and Twitter were not major influencers at all.
Consumer Shopping Guides like Consumer Reports ranked third overall as an influencer, though according to the Maritz study their importance has waned over the past few years. Of particular importance, third party websites out-ranked traditional print media automotive magazines in their influence.
Advertising by automakers, be it in print, TV or radio, were all ranked far down the list in terms of the influence they have on consumer purchase decisions.
The survey ranks what car shoppers think influences them the most, with the results flying in the face of conventional belief that online research is a major factor. The nearly $30 billion in advertising spent each year in America would also seem to suggest the level of influence ads have on a consumers shopping decisions is more significant than they think.