Dealers Remain Essential To A Digital Car Buying Process
Dealers Remain Essential To ...
Subscribe to Newsletter

Dealers Remain Essential To A Digital Car Buying Process

1 April 2021
4 min.
Dealers Remain Essential To A Digital Car Buying Process

While car buyers are increasingly using digital tools to shop for a car, data shows U.S. consumers say they still value the in-person experience at dealerships. That's according to Capital One's inaugural Car Buying Outlook, the first-ever survey of both consumer and dealer preferences, attitudes, and behaviors around auto financing. 77% of respondents reported they will research financing options and pre-qualification online more than before as a result of COVID-19. At the same time, in-person dealer experiences like test driving and negotiations are still important, with 82% of respondents saying they will visit more than one dealership.

“For most Americans, buying a car is one of the biggest purchases they’ll ever make, so it’s not surprising that they want to see, feel and experience this investment for themselves in person, alongside a trusted dealer advisor,” said Sanjiv Yajnik, President of Financial Services, Capital One. “The future of car buying requires embracing a model that marries digital tools with physical experience, empowering customers to have the car buying journey they want.”

Additional survey findings include:

Value of the In-Person Experience

Consumers value in-person elements of the car buying experience and visited the dealership even in the midst of COVID-19.

  • 94% of car buyers are most comfortable purchasing a vehicle from a dealership.1
  • 92% of car buyers say the test drive is an important part of the buying process.2
  • 82% of future car buyers say they plan to visit more than one dealership.3
  • 43% of future car buyers plan to have financing discussions at the dealership.4

Financing with Transparency

Dealers play an important role in how car buyers understand their financing options.

  • Two-thirds (68%) of deals fall through when finances enter the conversation, according to both dealers and car buyers.5
  • 99% of dealers state less than half of their consumers have their financing figured out when they come in. 6
  • 54% of car buyers state they think about financing after settling on a car, an increase from 43% in 2019.8
  • 81% of car buyers say dealerships should provide more information up front about pricing and financing.9

Dealers Digitize to Meet Customer Demands

  • Dealers are adopting digital tools to enhance customer engagement as more consumers turn online for shopping.
  • 69% of dealers say the role of technology and digitization in dealer operations will be more important post-COVID-19.10
  • 56% of dealers have permanently increased their use of digital tools to combat business challenges brought on by COVID-19.
  • 38% of dealers agree that the need to improve customers’ experience with technology has been accelerated by COVID-19.


Capital One’s Car Buying Outlook comprises findings from two surveys targeted to consumers and dealers.

The consumer survey of 1,000* U.S. adults ages 18+ was conducted on behalf of Capital One Auto Finance using Ipsos. *Of the 1,000, 348 have bought/leased a car in the last 6 months and 652 self-reported that they’re planning to buy/lease a car within the next two years. The survey was fielded October 1-14, 2020, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

The dealer survey of 401* current car dealers was conducted on behalf of Capital One Auto Finance using Beresford. *Of the 401 respondents, 132 were self-reported as owners, 133 as general managers, 30 as F&I directors, 83 as sales managers and 23 as internet managers. The survey was fielded October 14-20, 2020, with the margin of error +/- 4.8%.

1Dealerships where negotiations are the norm (50%), set-price dealerships with no-haggle price (29%) and online-only dealer with no-haggle policy (16%)

2Very important (66%), somewhat important (27%) (consumer sample: 1,000)

 3Visit two dealers (37%), three dealers (27%), four+ dealers (18%) (consumer sample: 652)

4Mostly in-person at dealership (32%), entirely in-person at dealership (12%) (consumer sample: 652)

5Negotiations on car price (34%), discussions about financing (20%), negotiations on trade-in price (14%) (consumer sample: 1,000); Negotiations on car price (26%), discussions about financing (22%), negotiations on trade-in price (20%) (dealer sample: 401)

626% - 50% financing figured out (46%), 1 – 25% financing figured out (51%), 0% financing figured out (%2) (dealer sample: 401)

7When I’ve decided on the car (in person) (36%), when I’ve found the car (online) (18%) (consumer sample: 1,000)

8When I’ve decided on the car (in person) (36%), when I’ve found the car (online) (18%) (consumer sample: 1,000)

9Strongly agree (42%), somewhat agree (39%) (consumer sample: 1,000)

10 Much more important (27%), somewhat more important (42%) (dealer sample: 401)

Persons1 in the news

President of Capital One Financial Services
1 place

NEW YORK PRESS RELEASES Press Releases are the latest news from New York companies.
Official press releases of New York companies are regularly published on the resource. You can find out the latest news of enterprises in the corresponding section on the main page. Placing press releases is a traditional and effective way to promote your business. It allows organizations to announce themselves and their products and services to the widest possible audience. In this case, the informational occasion can be anything: attracting people to an event or conference, highlighting new products or personnel appointments. If you set a goal to draw attention to your information, then will become your reliable assistant in this matter. Thanks to the portal, your press release will be seen by reviewers of leading Internet publications, clients and partners. allows representatives of companies and organizations in New York to independently post a press release when registering on the resource. The most important feature of is that all publications of New York companies fall into the archives and will be available from the search for a long time. You just need to add the press release to the news feed. offers its customers a subscription service that allows companies to regularly publish press releases on favorable terms. In addition, the business portal makes it possible to more fully tell about the life of the company by adding photos and videos, personas and employee quotes. All information materials have active links and will lead potential customers to your resource.
Alena Potapova

Development Director
Died this year
Born this year