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CarGurus 2021 Buyer Insight Report


It goes without saying that the automotive market has changed significantly over the past 12-24 months. For the fourth year in a row, CarGurus analyzed the path to purchase of more than 3,000 car buyers to offer an in-depth look at how today’s consumer journey is more complex than ever before.

Key findings include:

  • Shoppers are increasingly aware of the ongoing pricing and inventory challenges. 58% of car buyers feel that prices seem higher than typical, while 47% feel that selection seems worse than usual (compared to 26% and 32% respectively in November 2020).
  • Shoppers are staying open-minded in today’s challenging buying environment and are prone to switching behaviors. 69% of shoppers switch make and 86% switch model during the car shopping process.
  • Auto-shopping sites and social media platforms are the leading online resources. On average, auto-shopping sites earn 2x more than OEM and dealer sites. More than a quarter of shoppers (26%) say that social media directly informed their car purchase, which is up from 19% a year ago.
  • Interest in digital retail has accelerated due to the pandemic. 60% of shoppers say they would prefer to do more of the car-buying process from home for their next purchase. For now, the test drive remains the biggest deterrent to a completely digital purchase.

The insights in this year’s report underscore the value of leveraging an omnichannel marketing approach that caters to changing buyer preferences and unlocks the power of your digital retail offerings. For more information, download the full CarGurus 2021 Buyer Insight Report.