In a bit of Sunday surprise, the busiest day of the year for U.S. shoppers on auto dealership websites was Sunday, July 24. The slowest day was Sunday, May 8, or Mother’s Day, Dealer.com reported.
Dealer.com, a Cox Automotive website manager for dealerships, said in its report that the July 24 date was an “anomaly” because nine out of the 10 slowest days of online traffic in 2016 were Sundays. But the date is likely representative of a healthy summer shopping season, said James Grace, senior director of analytics products at Cox Automotive Media Solutions.
The runner-up dates for the busiest shopping days of 2016 were, in order, Aug. 26, 29 and 25, which better align with the beginning of the “sell-down season” for the latest model-year vehicles, Dealer.com said.
While Fridays were generally the busiest shopping days, Grace said Fridays also had one of the smallest forms-to-visits ratios, or the amount of visitors to dealership sites who filled out forms. Grace said the forms-to-visits ratio is low on Fridays because customers may only be viewing vehicle pages to develop “game plans” before in-store weekend shopping. Though he says it’s still a point dealerships can improve on.
“The analytics themselves show that high traffic quantity doesn’t always correlate to high quality and there is significant room for improvement in terms of giving consumers more online deal-making tools that can close the gaps in engagement and conversion to sales,” Grace said in an emailed statement.
There was also a jump in online traffic on Nov. 22 and 23, the two days before Thanksgiving, likely due to Black Friday sales.
The busiest hours for online traffic in certain time zones were 7 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time, 2 p.m. EST and 11 a.m. PST.
As for the slowest days: Sundays. Out of the 10 slowest days of the year, the only non-Sunday was Friday, Jan. 1. Dealer.com said that date can be attributed to consumers who needed to “recuperate physically and financially from the holidays.”
Sunday’s relatively slow stream of online traffic had a high percentage of visitors to vehicle pages. Grace says this makes sense on a day when many dealerships are closed.
An extra nugget of information, which Grace says may be based loosely on population, is the top five states by aggregate online traffic:
4. New York