The 2023 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Study delivers compelling insights into the evolving landscape of car buying satisfaction, with 69% of consumers reporting high satisfaction levels, a significant rise from 61% in 2022.

This improvement is attributed to better inventory levels, the reintroduction of discounting, and notably, the adoption of an omnichannel approach to car buying. This strategy, blending online and in-dealership activities, has emerged as a key driver of satisfaction, offering a seamless and efficient vehicle purchasing experience.

The Importance of Omnichannel Strategies

Automotive dealership leaders can draw valuable lessons from these findings, particularly the effectiveness of omnichannel strategies in enhancing customer satisfaction. This approach allows consumers to engage with dealerships both online and in-person, catering to a diverse range of preferences and making the car buying process more accessible and convenient.

By integrating digital tools with traditional in-dealership experiences, dealerships can offer a more personalized and efficient service, meeting buyers where they are in their purchasing journey.

50% of all car buyers completed 100% of the steps in person, while 43% completed steps in a mix of online and in-person at the dealership. Only 7% of car buyers in 2023 completed all the steps online.

Increased Satisfaction Across the Board

The study highlights a notable increase in satisfaction among new-vehicle buyers to 73% and used-vehicle buyers to 68%, with new electric vehicle (EV) buyers reporting the highest levels of satisfaction at 80%.

Dealership experiences also saw a surge in satisfaction, with 74% of all vehicle buyers and 79% of new-vehicle buyers expressing high satisfaction.

These figures demonstrate the potential of targeted improvements in dealership operations and customer engagement strategies to significantly enhance the car buying experience.

Affordability and Inventory Improvements

The adjustments in pricing and inventory have also played a crucial role in improving car shopping experiences. With 49% of buyers noting they paid more than expected, down from 54% in the previous year, and better inventory levels providing more options, dealerships have a unique opportunity to refine their pricing strategies and inventory management to further boost buyer satisfaction.

Digital Tools and Efficiency

The shift towards omnichannel approaches is not about eliminating in-person interactions but about enhancing them with digital tools to make the buying process more efficient. With 50% of car buyers completing the purchase steps in person and 43% using a mix of online and in-person methods, it’s clear that buyers appreciate the flexibility and efficiency that digital tools offer.

Dealerships that invest in digital platforms and integrate them seamlessly with their in-dealership activities are likely to see higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.


The findings from the 2023 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Study offer a roadmap for automotive dealership leaders aiming to enhance customer satisfaction and adapt to the changing dynamics of car buying.

By embracing an omnichannel approach, focusing on affordability and inventory management, and leveraging digital tools to streamline the buying process, dealerships can meet the evolving needs and preferences of today’s car buyers.

As the industry continues to evolve, those dealerships that can offer a seamless, efficient, and satisfying buying experience will be well-positioned for success in the competitive automotive market.