Dealer Research Uncovers Need for Change in Digital Retailing

February 14, 2020

CHICAGO — February 14, 2020 — MAX Digital, a leading data-driven software provider for automotive dealers, released its fourth annual dealer research study on digital retailing challenges and what opportunities exist for success. In conjunction with Erickson Research, MAX Digital surveyed more than 540 dealers across the United States in late 2019.

Key findings from the research include:

  • Dealers predict online sales to double by 2025. Respondents expect online sales to increase from 15 percent today to 34 percent by 2025. Today, 85 percent of transactions are still happening inside the physical dealership.
  • Ninety percent of dealers said their sales process needs to change to be more seamless with their digital retailing strategy. Seventy-six percent of dealers reported having a process for transitioning online customers to in store.
  • Digital merchandising has errors and inefficient. Respondents said 21 percent of their digital listings have errors, and they are spending an average of an hour and 15 minutes to list a single vehicle.
  • Millennials want more tech. More than 50 percent of millennial survey respondents would like to see more technology in the sales process, compared to only 32 percent of Gen X and Boomers.  
  • Trade-ins overlooked profit source. Less than five percent of dealers view trade-ins as a top profit source, a decline from 15 percent in the MAX Digital 2019 survey. Fewer than two in five dealers said they are under allowing on the trade-in.
  • Turnover linked to training. Inadequatetraining was found to be the top reason for turnover, especially for millennial respondents (under age 35).
  • Acquiring profits at acquisition. When asked how to increase profitability, the majority, 62 percent, cited vehicle acquisition.
  • Dealers expect sales process change. Sixty percent of respondents expect a change in their sales process – a big jump from 2019, up 15 percent. Top two types of change dealers anticipate are a more consultative sales process and new technology.

“Our survey uncovered that dealers are looking to make changes to improve digital retailing and close the gap from online to offline,” said MAX Digital’s Executive Vice President Mike Cavanaugh. “Whether customers have started their engagement online or not, once they’ve made contact with your dealership, it’s time to shine. Your teams must have the training, support and technology to meet customers wherever they are in the buying process.”

More than 540 U.S. dealers completed the survey online in November 2019. Respondents included General Managers, Dealer Principals, Used Car Managers and Internet Managers.

Access the full report findings here:

About MAX Digital

MAX Digital creates experiences that drive success. Guided by a deep understanding of the car buyer and the opportunities in retail environment, MAX delivers people-friendly digital retail solutions that work. With unmatched vehicle merchandising data, advanced analytics and extensive consumer testing, MAX helps dealerships thrive by exceeding the rising expectations of today’s car shoppers. For more information visit

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