J.D. Power: Smartphones Come Out Ahead for Online Vehicle Shoppers

Apr 9, 2018

Overall satisfaction with using third-party automotive websites on a smartphone has shown significant year-over-year improvement compared with the desktop experience, according to the J.D. Power 2018 U.S.  Automotive Website Evaluation Study Cross-Device.

“Five years ago, we would have been amazed to see higher satisfaction for vehicle research and shopping on a 5-inch screen,” said Amit Aggarwal, senior director of digital practice lead at J.D. Power. “Year over year, smartphone users are visiting more content areas to configure vehicles, compare vehicles, search for inventory, view technical specifications and more.”

The 2018 Automotive Website Evaluation Study Cross-Device evaluates automotive third-party websites from two perspectives across platforms (desktop/smartphone): overall site function and the importance of various site features to online shoppers. This study examines which current site functions and designs are most effective in helping shoppers narrow their consideration set and increasing their likelihood to recommend and return to the website.

Study Rankings

Desktop and smartphone rankings (separately awarded) are based on the combined index scores of the four measures that comprise the overall website experience: navigation; appearance; information/content; and speed. Satisfaction is based on a 1,000-point scale.

Autotrader ranks highest in overall satisfaction with automotive third-party desktop websites with a score of 789. TrueCar (782) ranks second and Cars.com (778) ranks third.

Kelley Blue Book ranks highest in overall satisfaction with automotive third-party smartphone websites with a score of 809. Edmunds.com (807) ranks second and Carfax (804) ranks third.

The 2018 Automotive Website Evaluation Study Cross-Device is based on responses from 4,392 evaluations of automotive manufacturer websites by new- and used-vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a vehicle within the next 24 months, with 2,130 being desktop evaluations and 2,262 being smartphone evaluations. The study was fielded in January.