Edmunds.com: Average new car purchases set record in 2012

Shoppers turning to leases more than ever.


Car buyers spent an average of $30,803 on new car purchases last year – an all-time high, according to Edmunds.com, the premier resource for car shopping and automotive information. Edmunds.com also found that an average of $2,200 – or about 7 percent above base prices – was spent on optional equipment for those cars. The findings are just two of several key points identified in Edmunds.com's 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report, which mines Edmunds.com's extensive data to reveal the most relevant car shopping and purchasing trends in America today.

"The trends we found offer direct clues to ways that the automotive industry can move toward a more engaging car shopping experience," says Edmunds.com 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, and when they shop on Edmunds.com, 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 said 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 Edmunds.com 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 that 49 percent of shoppers say they "plan to stick with a brand that has worked in the past."
  • Traffic to Edmunds.com's mobile site spikes on the weekends – and especially on Saturdays – when the bulk of car buying takes place.

Edmunds.com's 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report is available for free download at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/car-shopping-trends/.

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