From the car-buying process to vehicles themselves, digital technology goes hand in hand with the auto industry. After a year of new advancements, 2022 revealed many patterns that can help the auto industry plan for the future. Customer preferences and purchasing processes continued shifting in 2022 towards being more digital and sustainable. Let’s look at the top five trends we saw from the auto industry in 2022.
Over the past year, searches for the term "electric vehicle" skyrocketed 195%, showing a dramatic increase in interest. Even more importantly, that interest is translating into increased sales. Electrek reported record sales of electric vehicles in the US, with 200,000 units sold in 2022 Q3. EVs now have a 7% market share — up from 3% two years ago.
Automakers and dealerships can capture the interest of customers who want to learn about EVs by posting educational materials and videos. By providing fact-based information that shows the benefits of EVs to consumers and the environment, automakers can increase their future sales. Auto dealers should also encourage their sales representatives to proactively bring up electric vehicles with customers to help answer questions and provide details. Even customers who aren’t currently interested in purchasing an EV may begin considering the technology for future vehicles.
According to Center for Future Mobility, 95% of new cars sold by 2030 will be connected, as opposed to 50% of cars today. Being connected typically refers to three types of features:
By using 5G connected devices, cars have the reliable connectivity needed for real-time data transmission without lags. IoT sensors are also a key component of connected vehicles, for collecting and sending data. As customers continue to expect connected features in the vehicles they buy, dealerships should focus on these functionalities in marketing and sales conversations. Features that improve safety, affordability and sustainability are especially worth prioritizing.
Before the pandemic, only 4.2% of car buying happened online. Times have certainly changed. Now, 82% of customers want to shop online to save time. According to Progressive, 78% of consumers found purchasing online to be highly satisfying. On the other hand, only 58% of purchases at a dealership rated as highly satisfying. Car dealerships looking to increase online sales can focus on making the option easy to find on their website, as well as streamlining the user interface for ease of use. In addition, adding chatbots gives customers access to personalized service when purchasing online even in the middle of the night.
Digital tools and automations make the online vehicle purchasing process easier for both employees and customers. Car dealerships are already using real-time data to help improve the customer experience. This might include providing an accurate view of current inventory or estimates for trade-ins based on photos and vehicle information.
By using more automations and online technology such as utilizing digital signing and notarizations, dealerships make the financing and purchasing process easier on the customer. As more auto dealerships move towards becoming digital dealerships, those that continue to rely on manual processes are will likely struggle to keep up with customer expectations and employee productivity.
Many new technologies that gained popularity during the pandemic, such as online purchasing and digital processes, are now the standard way of getting things done. Car dealerships and automakers need to look at the experience customers now expect, both in terms of vehicles and purchasing, when creating their roadmap for 2023.