Market Overview

EFG Companies' National Consumer Research Reveals Keys to Increasing eLead Conversions


Online Reviews, Pricing, & Quality of Vehicle Inquiry Responses Can
Make or Break a Sale

EFG Companies, the innovator behind the award-winning Hyundai
Assurance program, announced today the results of its second national
consumer research study revealing the critical role of a dealership's
online presence in making a sale. According to the 1,457 respondents,
their buying research process goes well beyond simply narrowing down
their vehicle selection, and the smallest mistake can eliminate a
dealership from consideration. The softening market, coupled with a
growing Millennial/Gen Z consumer, demands an increased focus on the
dealership's digital eLead process to increase conversions. For more
information, visit

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

EFG Companies today announced the results of its second national consumer research survey on digital ...

EFG Companies today announced the results of its second national consumer research survey on digital purchasing in the automotive retail market. (Graphic: Business Wire)

The research revealed seven key data points on the average consumer's
first point of contact with a dealership:

  • 50 percent of customers check a dealer's online customer reviews prior
    to considering them for a potential vehicle purchase.
  • 71 percent compare dealership website prices before deciding which
    dealership to visit.
  • 83 percent expect a response from the dealership within 24 hours of
    sending an online vehicle inquiry, and 16 percent want information
    immediately or within the hour.
  • 43 percent say the more information you can provide online, the more
    apt they are to visit the dealership.
  • 45 percent rank poor spelling, grammar and punctuation as a top three
    reason to eliminate a dealership from consideration.
  • Only 9 percent want a phone call from the dealership after they've
    submitted an online request.

"We all know that consumers conduct a significant amount of research
prior to ever reaching out to a dealership. Once they do, the dealership
team handling the eLeads needs to engage with consumers in a timely,
thorough, and professional manner," said John Stephens, Executive Vice
President, EFG Companies. "Informative and transparent responses that
address the entire sales process are valued, and increase the odds that
a customer will purchase from the dealership."

EFG Companies fielded the initial national research study in 2015, in
response to shifting demographics, a challenging retail automotive sales
environment, and a desire from its customers to generate more revenue. A
comparison of the data between 2015 and 2018 reveals notable changes in
consumer preferences and buying habits.

Customer Engagement 2.0

This new sales paradigm is counterintuitive to dealerships that rely
solely on negotiating face-to-face. EFG's consumer research revealed the
number of customers who expect the dealership visit to take more than
one hour is down more than 10 percent from 2015, with another 10 percent
of respondents saying they do not want to visit a dealership at all.
These customers prefer to complete the selection and negotiation process
online or by phone, only visiting the dealership for the final

"I've seen a lot of change in the industry throughout my career. But, if
you had asked me 20 years ago, would this level of vehicle sales
research, inquiry and negotiation be happening online, I'm not sure I
would have said yes," said Stephens. "It's a lot for dealers to get used
to. And, it's a lot for them to evolve their business processes and
sales cultures to a point where they can fully capitalize on this new
kind of car buyer. My clients who are embracing this change, rather than
resisting it, certainly have the edge in their marketplaces."

More than 55 percent of consumers surveyed preferred a dealership that
answered questions and provided additional information to be considered.
Including F&I options ranked high, specifically products that can add
value to the sale. Specifically, vehicle service contract products were
well received. Dealerships must consider that younger demographic
customers may only enter the dealership to sign paperwork. Waiting until
the customer is in the store to begin the F&I product education process
could potentially lessen the discussion's effectiveness, reduce back-end
revenue, and even jeopardize the sale.

About EFG Companies

EFG Companies combines almost 40 years of experience serving as an
industry innovator of consumer and vehicle protection programs with the
company's commitment to raising the industry bar in providing superior
client engagement. With their field and administrative teams AFIP and
ASE certified, EFG's professionals provide world-class product
development and administration, go-to-market strategies, training and
auditing support across a multitude of channels.

View Comments and Join the Discussion!