Smartphones Beat Desktops for Car Shopping

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When it comes to shopping for cars online, people are more satisfied with smartphone apps than with desktop websites, according to survey results released Tuesday by J.D. Power. The top-ranked platform for both smartphones and desktops are owned by Cox Automotive, a division of Cox Enterprises.

On the desktop side, Cox’s Autotrader achieved the high score of 789 out of a possible 1,000, based on four metrics: navigation; appearance; information/content; and speed. Among smartphone apps, Cox’s Kelley Blue Book was ranked at the top with a score of 809 on the same criteria.

J.D. Power’s digital practice leader, Amit Aggarwal, said:

Five years ago, we would have been amazed to see higher satisfaction for vehicle research and shopping on a 5-inch screen. Year over year, smartphone users are visiting more content areas to configure vehicles, compare vehicles, search for inventory, view technical specifications and more.

Trailing Autotrader in the desktop category were TrueCar with a score of 782, Cars.com (778) and CarGurus (777). The average score among the nine sites included in the survey was 765. Autoblog, now part of Verizon’s Oath subsidiary, was the lowest ranked with a score of 707.

Among smartphone apps, top-ranked Kelley Blue Book finished two points ahead of Edmunds.com (807). Carfax, which is owned by IHS Markit, ranked third with a score of 804. The industry average in this category was 782 and Autoblog again posted the lowest score (739).

The results are 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. J.D. Power fielded in January 2018.

For more details visit the J.D. Power website.