Would you buy a car from your smart phone without going into the dealership? One-third of respondents in a new survey say they would buy a car directly online much as they would buy a shirt or new pair of shoes.
That doesn’t mean that they are ordering sight unseen, however. About 86 percent of those in the survey said they would need to have a test drive in the same model car before buying.
The survey was done for three-year-old company Roadster, which is offering that kind of online buying and direct delivery in California only for the moment. The survey was conducted by independent company Survata and polled 1,185 consumers.
Another company begun in 2013, Vroom, is offering a similar service for used cars, which the company refurbishes before selling them and delivering to the buyer anywhere in the country. Vroom CEO Paul Hennessy is a former CEO of Priceline. The company took in $1 billion in revenue last year. Vroom also has virtual reality stations in a few locations where you can look at the cars for sale.
Both companies are aimed at saving time as well as money for car shoppers. One-third of the consumers in the Roadster survey said they believed they could save three to four hours if they bought online instead of going to a dealership.
Here are some further details of the survey:
-- Home delivery of cars was especially popular, with 45 percent saying they favored it.
-- Geography didn’t matter. Respondents in cities that are heavy with tech companies like San Francisco and Seattle were no more willing to buy online than those in other locations.
-- Income did matter. Respondents with household incomes of $150,000 or more were more favorable toward buying a car online than consumers in lower tax brackets.
“It is clear from our survey that consumers are open to new ways of shopping for big ticket items,” said Roadster CEO Andy Moss. “We have incorporated some of the most cutting edge e-commerce technology into car shopping to make car buying as easy as buying anything else online.”