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Car Buying: The Last Frontier of Online Shopping

Chase research shows consumers are increasingly comfortable with online financing.

New York, N.Y. December 6, 2017 This holiday season consumers shopping for a new car or truck may be looking online now more than ever. Nearly half of Americans (47%) said they would be comfortable completing their purchase online—from research to financing—according to new research from Chase Auto Finance.

The other half aren’t comfortable because they want to: test drive the vehicle before buying (76%) and they don’t believe they can negotiate online (47%).

“We know Americans spend significant time researching the make and model of their next vehicle purchase, but not necessarily the financing options,” said Mark O’Donovan, CEO of Chase Auto Finance. “That’s starting to shift, which is why we launched Chase Auto Direct last year.” 

Chase Auto Direct—available through and on any device through the Chase Mobile app—is an online resource for people to research their next car or truck and apply for financing.  Consumers can get an interest rate quote and use the payment calculator to research financing options online before heading to the dealership to test drive and finish the deal. 

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Car Buying: The Last Frontier of Online Shopping

The automotive landscape is evolving, but there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to how people shop for cars. One thing’s for certain: people want to spend less time on paperwork and more time enjoying their car or truck.

Car Buying Habits are Evolving

47% said they’re comfortable completing the entire vehicle purchase process online (from research to financing)

Of those who were not comfortable, these were the top reasons:

76% of consumers want to test drive before buying
68% feel it’s too big of a purchase to make online
51% prefer going into the dealership
47% believe there is no opportunity to negotiate online
38% want someone to walk them through the app

Financing is also migrating to the web:

The majority of Americans (88%) say they are familiar with online auto finance services where they can get a loan or a lease for a vehicle

1 in 5 car buyers have already secured financing online

Americans say financial institutions are the most trustworthy to get the best terms followed by auto manufacturers

Millennials are changing the future of auto financing:

81% love or like driving

48% had their longest relationship with a vehicle

45% financed their vehicles through a bank, compared to:
38% ages 35-44
29% ages 45-54
23% ages 55-64

Most likely to use a ridesharing or car-sharing service – with about 1 in 5 claiming to use once a week or more often

43% likelihood to purchase an electric vehicle, compared to:
37% ages 35-44
20% ages 45-54
11% ages 55-64

Highest affinity for driverless vehicles with 38% claiming to be likely to buy one in the future

America’s love affair with their automobiles is far from over

78% of people say that they love or like driving

Americans have an emotional connection to their cars:
67% “My vehicle is an extension of my personal style”
66% “I would mourn if I had to get rid of my vehicle”
64% driving is a fun hobby
56% of people say their vehicle is like a family member
48% More than 1 in 3 Americans name their car with 48% of millennials name their car

Car owners tend to spend more time shopping for a vehicle than personal life milestones:
36% planning their last big vacation
33% picking their newest pet
26% choosing their wedding band/significant other’s ring

Believe it or not, people spend more time in their vehicles than 38% on social media and 52% exercising

For more information on buying or leasing your next car or truck, go to

Chase Auto Finance commissioned a national survey among 3,535 Americans between September 14 and 27, 2017. A nationally representative sample of n=1,000 was utilized to understand the trends or Americans (overall). The margin of error for this study was 3.1% at a 95% confidence level.

Research from Chase also found that Americans still have a strong emotional connection to their vehicles and driving in general:

  • 78% love or like driving
  • 67% see their vehicle as an extension of their personal style
  • 56% say their vehicle is like a family member

That emotional connection likely explains why car buyers spend more time shopping for a vehicle than:

  • planning their last big vacation, 36%
  • picking their newest pet, 33% or
  • choosing their wedding band/significant other’s ring, 26%.

“With Chase Auto Direct, our goal is to help people save time by completing the financial paperwork online,” added O’Donovan.  “Plus, they still have ultimate flexibility at the dealership—to test drive and get the keys or change their mind and walk away because they’re not locked into the loan.”

For more details, visit

About the Survey

A national survey commissioned by Chase Auto Finance was conducted among 3,535 Americans between September 14 and 27, 2017. A nationally representative sample of n=1,000 was utilized to understand the trends of Americans (overall) while an oversample of respondents in 10 distinct cities was leveraged to understand the trends in specific regions. The margin of error for this study was 3.1% at a 95% confidence level.

Media Contacts

Ashlei Bobo,
Shannon O’Reilly,

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