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January Auto Shopper Intensity Index Continues Upward Momentum

February 22, 2011

Dataium LLC, an aggregator of automotive shopping behavior, said its Auto Shopper Intensity (ASI) Index continued an upward climb in January from its low in September. Strong gains were present in several key components of the index such as automotive Website traffic, inventory search activity and lead volume. Lead volume increased 52 percent over December on a per dealership basis.

Dataium said it continues to see consumers expand the volume and variety of vehicles they shop for. In addition, the auto buying cycle continues to lengthen as consumers become more diligent in their shopping behavior. The behavioral components of the index's moving averages indicate desire and demand are expanding in the market place, with the BMW 328 having the highest shopping intensity for new cars, and Honda Accord, the strongest among pre-owned vehicles. However, household economics impacted by continued weak employment and increasing consumer prices threaten to trump buyer desire.

There has been some softening of the index during the first two weeks of February, but this time period was impacted by the Super Bowl’s impact on auto shopping. Further, strong winter storms and increasing gas prices may have had some impact on consumer shopping habits as well. However, long-term changes in the types of vehicles shopped for online, due to gas price increases, have yet to materialize. In fact, the ASI Index for Hybrid vehicles remains low.

"The ASI index for January continues an encouraging upward trend," stated Eric Brown, CEO of Dataium. "However, price increases in energy, food and other consumer goods may begin to impact the ASI Index going forward. The coming months' ASI may prove to be a bellwether for the remainder of the year."

Dataium’s national report is available for download at http://www.dataium.com/library. Reports and dashboards are available on a subscription basis or may be customized for real-time updates or specific data requirements.

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