Looking at December used-vehicle sales, CNW Research noted that a growing percentage of shoppers are searching for vehicles outside of their local market. The research firm also noted that shoppers motivated by online advertising outpaced print newspapers for the first time.

Compared to November, 23% more buyers in December went to neighboring areas to make their vehicle acquisition, CNW noted in its monthly newsletter. The firm also reported that about 55.08% of buyers, or 4.44 million consumers, said they were motivated to visit a dealership based on a print newspaper advertisement, an 18.7% decline from December 2013. Conversely, buyers who said a dealer visit was motivated by something they saw on the Internet grew by 37.13% to 4.495 million buyers.

“This is the first time Internet motivation exceeded print newspapers,” CNW’s Art Spinella noted. “The power of the Internet finally knocked newspapers out of the catbird seat as a cause of dealership visits.”

For December, approximately 3.32 million used vehicles were sold, up about 1% from a year ago and 6.6% vs. November. Of that total, franchised new-car dealers sold 1.2 million used units, down slightly from the 1.3 million units the segment sold one year ago. Independent dealers also experienced a near 3% decline vs. a year ago.

“Private party sales, on the other hand, rose nearly 16% vs. the same month of 2013 and nearly 28% vs. November,” Spinella reported. He noted, however, that despite the slight drop in pre-owned sales, franchised dealers realized a 3% increase in transaction prices vs. November.

“Total value of vehicles sold by franchised dealers approached $20 billion, up 18.6% vs. a year ago and 3.5% vs. the previous month,” Spinella wrote. “For independent dealers, the total value of vehicles sold rose 7.5% to $8.5 billion, while casual value skyrocketed by 22% to $7.3 billion vs. a year ago.”

For the year, used-vehicle sales inched up to slightly from a year ago to more than 42.05 million units.