Think the majority of vehicle buyers start their search online?

Think again. It’s not just the majority. It’s most automobile buyers. 86% of car shoppers do research on the Internet BEFORE they visit a dealer.

According to Geomarketing, “In the purchase journey, aggregate sites and local search matter more than marketers might assume. Consumers don’t buy cars online, but that doesn’t mean the online experience isn’t central to the automotive purchase journey.  … the fact that they conduct cross-device online research in every category isn’t a surprise. But in a vertical like automotive, where the purchase ‘moment of truth’ continues to revolve around a physical space, it’s imperative for marketers to think about how search — particularly on mobile and via voice — influence buyers’ behavior in the real world.”

Where can you find prospective car and truck buyers? Google, of course. They’re the number one individual web site.

The largest group (32%) of consumers start at Internet auto sites . There are dozens of web sites with no clear winner.  They cover a wide range of sales and information sites, including buying a new or used car or truck, finding the best online deal, selling your vehicle, researching auto models, trends, and specifications, reading blogs, seeing videos, and cost to own and loan auto calculators.  Top sites include Yahoo! Autos/Autoblog, AutoTrader, and

The next largest category (30%) are the search engines. Here there is a single winner – Google with a 92% share of all web searches. Local dealer web sites are in third place. 24% of buyers start with dealerships they already know or have bought from. Last are the brand manufacturers. Shoppers start there only 14% of the time.