This article has been updated from its original version.
According to a new study co-sponsored by xAd and Telmetrics, 49 percent of mobile auto searchers even end up making a purchase the same day of their research. Smartphone searchers also show a more immediate need for a vehicle with 36 percent reporting they would make a purchase within the hour.
Consumers conducting auto research through mobile devices are also more likely to use mobile websites instead of apps. According to the study, only 1 percent of mobile users are using auto industry apps. Telmetrics and xAd say the disparate app use has to do with consumers' disinterest in downloading an app they will only use when planning to buy a car.
The study found that mobile consumers are less likely to search through a car manufacturer's website for information. Only 4 percent of *Nielsen study participants said they are likely to use a car brand's designated website. Consumers reported they prefer to use non-brand research sites like Autotrader.com, according to the study.
"Automotive mobile marketers should recognize Auto searchers' preference for mobile websites over apps to reach mobile searchers that don't know exactly what they are looking for and maximize and monetize mobile ad performance," said president of Telmetrics Bill Dinan.
"Also, understanding the role of location - specifically the importance of local driving distance - is essential to harnessing the 65 percent undecided mobile Auto audiences and their purchasing power."
Out of those surveyed, 44 percent said they use mobile devices to find the location of a car dealership. While another 36 percent used their mobile device to look up an auto firm's phone number.
The study's sponsors say that it's key to remember that auto buyers are a diverse and studious bunch. Telmetrics and xAd reported that 35 percent of mobile auto researchers were more inclined to search for familiar brands, but most didn't know exactly what they were looking for.
"Advertisers that use these new insights correctly can improve their ad relevancy and performance while reducing ad waste by ensuring mobile ads are hitting the right audience with the right message," said vice president of marketing at xAd Monica Ho.
Research was discovered using Nielsen's Mobile Path-to-Purchase study. The study used data taken from more than 1,500 smartphone and tablet users who reported that they had engaged in automotive-related mobile activity in the past 30 days.
Nielsen's data was then combined with another research paper from the firm called the Smartphone Analytics Panel study. *The Smartphone Analytics Panel surveyed 3,000 iPhone users and 3,000 Android users to discover specific preferences of mobile users.
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James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club, CachedTech.com, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.
March 19, 2014