SAN FRANCISCO — One in four dealerships using Drive Motors’ online retailing platform made more than 50% of their December online sales during the final seven days of the month. That’s up 5% from the 2016 holiday season, leading the startup’s CEO and founder, Aaron Krane, to conclude that online car buying is beginning to make strides in the automotive retail business.
December was a big month for makers of digital retailing platforms, marking the first time their dealer partners were able to participate in online sales during a holiday season. What makes Krane’s findings noteworthy is most dealerships were closed during two of those final seven days, Christmas and New Year’s days.
“As we saw last year, the final seven days of the year were a critical time for dealers in 2017,” said Krane, who predicted prior to the holidays that dealers actively using his firm’s platform would make more than 50% of their online sales in the final week of December. “In fact, several dealers raced all the way to the finish line, making over 75% of their December online sales in the final seven days of 2017.”
That wasn’t the only prediction Krane offered heading into the 2017 holiday season. He predicted that his dealers’ daily average order count would spike by more than 50% on the days between Christmas and New Year’s. He also expected Drive Motors dealers to experience a 10% to 20% decrease in online traffic and order volume on Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve Day vs. the 22% dip experienced during the 2016 holiday season.
Not only did the firm’s dealer partners experience a smaller dip in online orders and traffic, they sold almost three times as many cars online on Christmas Day than they did on Christmas Day 2016. As for Christmas Eve, Drive Motors clients sold twice as many cars online than they did on the same day last year.
“Surprisingly, car orders on Christmas Day itself nearly tripled year over year,” Krane said. “Not only are people shopping more during the holidays, they’re also buying.”
The top five days for online car orders, in descending order, were Dec. 19, 28, 13, 26, and 29. Compared to the December 2017 daily average, those five days registered combined average growth of 48%.
“As this technology evolves, customers are becoming more aware that they can purchase their next car online from their local dealerships,” Krane said. “And as predicted, our dealership partners saw an even smaller dip in online orders on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in 2017 than in 2016.”