It seems that everyone is buying everything online these days, including cars. Car shopping is more of a seamless experience today, one where you can research, view, customize and purchase online. Even if you think you’re always going to want to go in and talk to the dealer, there’s a good chance you’ll spend more time online than you think. According to a study conducted by IHS Automotive that was commissioned by COX Automotive, car buyers spend 59 percent of the time they use shopping for a car online.

Most of that time is spent away from the dealership or OEM websites. The same study revealed that 78 percent of car shoppers spend a large portion of their research efforts on third party sites like blogs, magazine websites and other resources. While most of these efforts are spent researching models, reading reviews and watching videos, a significant portion of shoppers actually make online car purchases.

online car shopping

There’s little wonder why this trend is continuing to expand. It’s so easy to shop on the Web. While many people are still going to the dealership to make the purchase, the vast majority of buyers have already done at least some research online by the time they step onto the showroom floor. As time goes on, it isn’t beyond reason to assume more and more people would skip physically going to the dealership altogether.

You've been able to buy cars sight unseen on eBay Motors for years. Online auction websites like eBay or the more recently established Bring A Trailer allow buyers to bid on the car they want based on the pictures and information provided by the seller. However, there are other car shopping websites out there that aren't part of the car auction scene.

Carvana seems to be at the forefront of this new car shopping world. The website eliminates the dealership altogether by allowing you to search, do a 360-degree virtual tour of a car, get financing and make the purchase from your computer and then have the car delivered to you or pick it up from one of Carvana's vehicle vending machines. After that, you have seven days to decide if you want to keep the car or not.

Carvana isn't the only online shopping website for cars where you can actually make a purchase without going to the dealer, and there are even more car shopping sites that act as a liaison between dealers and car shoppers. There are tons of players in the automotive shopping space, and it seems that arena will become even more crowded in the future. Last year, retail giant Amazon started its car research portal. You can’t buy a car there yet, but that may be coming. Several other websites are also offering automotive research tools and shopping experiences.

online car shopping

The fact of the matter is the car shopping experience is changing. It’s shifting towards a more online-focused marketplace. This is unsurprising given the fact that all shopping seems to be moving away from physical stores to online ones. According to a survey conducted by comScore and UPS, consumers are now making more purchases online than they are at physical locations.

The study tracked consumer trends over the last several years, and the data shows that there’s been steady online shopping growth and a corresponding drop in in-store purchases. While that particular survey pertained to all shoppers, there’s no doubt that the car industry will follow suit.