Protective Asset Protection, a provider of finance-and-insurance programs and services, announced results of its recent industry survey to learn growth patterns for online research and U.S. dealership vehicle and F&I product sales.
The online survey was conducted in August, drawing responses from 300 dealership executives. According to most respondents, about 25% of 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 vehicle research and selection. According to the survey, 69% of dealers said they are likely or definitely a proponent of enabling customers to research F&I options online. In a separate question, 89% said they are likely or definitely a proponent of enabling customers to purchase their F&I options online. Those dealers indicated they believe 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 is the most impactful way to improve their F&I product sales. In addition, 49% said access to a more diverse set of F&I product options would also be helpful to improve F&I sales.
Among dealers who offered F&I product sales online over the last 12 months, 67% 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 those that could help customers with vehicle affordability issues. Regarding top products, 61.4% said they’re selling GAP coverage, followed by 61% selling pre-paid maintenance and 55% distributing limited warranties/certified limited warranties.
Forty-nine percent of dealers said that covering electrical components is the most frequent reason consumers noted for selecting F&I protection products, followed by 46% who cited covering advanced technology features and 45% who cited 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 for 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.”
Originally posted on F&I and Showroom