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RV Dealer Alert: Study Shows Greatest Purchase Influencers …

Posted by Shawn Friesen on Jul 25, 2013

In our never ending quest to help dealers sell more RVs, we feel it’s necessary to make you aware of some important findings from a large-scale research Study that was released in late Spring 2013.

The Study, called 2013 Automotive Buyer Influence Study – Sources that Influence Purchase was conducted by R. L. Polk & Co.  It looked at 3,000 vehicle purchases and analyzed …  Visitor_Pkg

  • How much time do consumers spend online during the vehicle purchase process?
  • How does the Internet compare to other channels in terms of influencing purchase?
  • What most influences a buyer to visit a dealership?

While the vehicles purchased were cars, this Study bears our attention because with an RV purchase we would assume shopping habits are relatively similar but that time frames and purchase decisions can take longer than the decision to buy a car.  Keep this in mind as you look at the results here.

The Most-Used Source During the Shopping Process:

“Three quarters of buyers call the Internet their most-used source during their shopping process.”


Click to view larger image.

Surprised?  Think about the implications to your dealership and your online marketing strategy.

How much are people using the Internet for vehicle shopping?

“New Car Buyers spend 10 out of 13¾ hours (73%) shopping online, and Used Car Buyers spend 11¾ hours online out of 15¼ hours (77%).”

Click to view larger image.  Important.

Click to view larger image. Important.

Whether shopping for a new or used vehicle, today’s consumer spends more than 70% of his / her time shopping online.  Amazing.

Question for you to ponder:  How is the “quality” of your RV classified advertisements?  Shoppers are spending a lot of time on them.  If in doubt about the “quality” of your ads, here are some ad quality improvement ideas to consider.

The Most Influential Source LEADING Buyers To Your Dealership:

Buyers “indicated that the Internet was the primary source and led them to the dealership where they bought …”

Very important to dealers.  The Internet directs buyers to dealerships more than 15 times that of any other media source cited in the Study.

Here’s how all your different sources of traffic / leads line up behind the Internet:

Click to see the full image.

Click to examine the full image.

Online Marketing:  My Website / Your Website, Who Cares?  It’s All Online Marketing, Right?

“Of the time that New and Used Car Buyers spend shopping online, they spend the most time on third-party sites.”

Click to see larger image.

Click to view larger image.

NOTE:  Twice as much time on 3rd party sites (i.e. lead generation sites like RVT) as opposed to dealer websites – for used cars.  Good to make sure you have ALL your units on RVT, not just a smaller sampling of your inventory as this increases your odds of capturing the disproportionate amount of time shoppers spend combing through 3rd party sites.

So, yes, the Internet is a huge source of leads, of course.  But here’s an insight you might NOT have understood.

Have you ever attributed MOST of your walk-in traffic

 to your online presence?

Look at these stats from the Polk Study:

How Buyers Make First Contact with Dealerships:

“Approximately 2 out of 3 of all car buyers do not contact the dealership prior to their first visit …”

Click to view larger image.

Click to view larger image.

Wow!  Roughly 2/3’s of Internet shoppers DO NOT phone-in and they DO NOT email you.

No, the first contact made with a dealership by fully 2/3’s of (car) buyers is a walk-in!

Polk breaks it down like this:


1st Contact:         Walk-in        Phone-in          Email

New                            67%              21%              12%

Used                           62%               26%             12%


ACTION ITEM:  Try this …

While you are thinking about the source of all your walk-in traffic, go to your RVT account, Login, and look at the number of email leads you have received in the last month or so and consider this angle:  If you had received 100 leads (total) to your dealership (calls, emails and walk-ins), the Study shows that roughly 12% or 12 of those 100 would be email leads.

Now look at your RVT email leads numbers and apply the same formula:

A Fictitious Example:

Let’s say, you received 5 email leads from RVT.  Those 5 email leads represent approximately 12% of your total leads sourced by RVT.

So, 5 / .12 = 42.

That means RVT sourced you 42 leads in total.  Not bad.  Where 5 email leads may not look the greatest, with 42 leads rolling into your dealership (calls, emails and walk-ins,) you are definitely closing sales.  An interesting way to look at it, for sure.

In other words, for the above example, if you got 5 email leads, chances are you also got 10 phone-ins (tracked or not tracked) plus an additional 27 walk-ins (most likely not tracked) via RVT.


  • ~ 75% of car buyers say the Internet is their most used source.
  • ~ 70% of their shopping time is spent online.
  • Your online lead sources are providing you 15 X more leads than any offline source.
  • Car buyers spend a disproportionately large amount of time shopping on 3rd party sites over dealer and OEM sites – DOUBLE for used vehicles.
  • 2/3’s of your leads will not call you or email you.  They walk-in as their point of first contact.  So, the Internet is driving strong foot traffic.

What items, in this Study, do you find particularly interesting?

What items in your online marketing strategy are you going to address (and how) as a result of understanding this Study?

Author: Shawn Friesen

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