SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Car buyers spent an average of $30,803 on new-car purchases last year — an all-time high, according to The company also found that an average of $2,200 — or about 7 percent above base prices — was spent on optional equipment for those cars, according to’s 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report.

“The trends we found offer direct clues to ways that the automotive industry can move toward a more engaging car-shopping experience,” says President Seth Berkowitz. “In evaluating our wealth of data, we uncovered a story about car shoppers that is often surprising and counterintuitive, and at other times reinforces critical theories held throughout the industry.”

Other key findings in the 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report include: 

  • Two out of every three car shoppers consider themselves highly engaged in the car-shopping process. When they shop on, they’re most interested in reviews, pricing information and photos.
  • Shoppers are very good at anticipating how much they’ll pay for a new car. New-car shoppers told in 2011 that they planned to spend an average of $30,500 for their next vehicle, which closely mirrors the $30,803 they actually spent in 2012.
  • Shoppers are turning to leases now more than ever. And the difference between the average monthly lease payment ($433) and the average monthly finance payment ($468) is greater than at any time since started keeping records.
  • Luxury car owners and shoppers are considering and buying more non-luxury cars. This trend speaks to the improved quality of non-luxury vehicles.
  • About 44 percent of all trade-in vehicles last year were applied to the purchase of a new car of the same brand. This is consistent with our 2011 survey that found 49 percent of shoppers say they “plan to stick with a brand that has worked in the past.”
  • Traffic to’s mobile site spikes on the weekends – especially on Saturdays — when the bulk of car buying takes place.