Consumer satisfaction with car-buying journey finally improves

Consumer satisfaction with the car-buying process in the U.S. improved in 2023 following two years of declines, according to a Cox Automotive news release. The data is based on its annual Car Buyer Journey (CBJ) Study, which was released on Jan. 17.

The report revealed that consumer satisfaction with the overall vehicle shopping and buying experience was up last year. It declined in 2021 and 2022. The study also indicates that dealerships continue to provide “elevated” levels of satisfaction with the auto retail experience, according to 74% of all vehicle buyers and 79% of new-vehicle buyers.

“There is an often-cited narrative that suggests going to a car dealer is worse than a root canal,” said Isabelle Helms, Vice President of Research and Market Intelligence at Cox Automotive, in a statement. “Our research and data, however, suggest that this is simply not the case.”

In its news release, Cox Automotive also said that positive feedback stretched to key touch-points like the test drive experience (82%), vehicle pickup and delivery process (79%), and interaction with the sales team (77%). However, it should be noted that the increase in consumer satisfaction also stems from improved inventory levels, the return of discounting, and a greater proliferation of the omni-channel approach, along with a reduction in the time required to purchase a vehicle.

“Dealerships that fully embrace an omni-channel approach are the most successful, as the process becomes more efficient for everyone involved and delivers happier buyers as well,” said Vanessa Ton, Senior Manager of Market and Customer Research, in a statement.

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