Protective Asset Protection has announced results of a recent industry survey conducted to better understand growth patterns for online research and sales of vehicle transactions and finance and insurance (F&I) product offerings at dealerships across the U.S.
The online survey was recently conducted in August, with over 300 dealership executives participating in the collection of survey feedback. According to most respondents, about 25% of their customers shopped for one of their vehicles completely online this year.
Dealers around the country continue to review the right strategy for shoppers to research and purchase F&I products online, along with their vehicle research and selection. According to the survey, 68.5% of dealers polled said they are likely or definitely a proponent of enabling customers to research their F&I options online. In a separate question, 89.2% said they are likely or definitely a proponent of enabling customers to purchase their F&I options online. Those dealers believe that having F&I options online will help customers take the time they need to make the right decisions, which can help lift F&I sales.
Most dealers (58%) also agreed that offering F&I product sales online as part of the retail transaction would be the most impactful way to improve their F&I product sales. In addition, 49% of dealers stated that access to a more diverse set of F&I product options would also be helpful to improve their F&I sales
Among dealers who offered F&I product sales online over the last 12 months, 67.2% said they’ve actually seen a moderate increase due to their online F&I options. When asked what would help dealers sell more F&I products in the future, 49% said offering F&I products that could assist customers with vehicle affordability issues. Regarding top products, 61.4% of dealers stated they’re selling GAP coverage, followed by 61% selling pre-paid maintenance and 55.2% distributing limited warranties/certified limited warranties.
Forty-nine percent of dealers stated that covering electrical components was the most frequent reason consumers noted for selecting F&I protection products, followed by 46% who said covering advanced technology features and 45% who said the need for emergency roadside services.
“The decision to include F&I options as part of the online research and shopping process is being closely monitored and considered by dealers and dealer management nationwide,” said Rick Kurtz, senior vice president and chief distribution officer, Protective Asset Protection. “Similar to enabling more online vehicle research and shopping, it’s only a matter of time before a majority of the F&I selection process is also online. That said, it’s interesting to see the increase in F&I sales from those dealers polled who are already including F&I in their online shopping offerings.”