For the third year in a row, we monitored and assessed the development of new car online sales in China, the USA, and Europe. Since the study was first published in 2021, the number of online shops offering a seamless customer journey has more than doubled.

Our latest study shows: Over 70% of automotive OEMs now offer a seamless online car sales experience. Furthermore, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) have made considerable efforts in e-commerce, digital services, and customer experience.

In 30 seconds

  • Markets: USA, CHN, GER, UK, ITA, FRA, ESP
  • Products: New cars only (individual configurations and preconfigured cars)
  • Platform: OEM shops only
  • Brands: Top 10 OEMs in sales, new car registrations, and market share plus three “Wildcards”
  • Total shops: 91 in 7 markets

Key insights

  1. 65 shops provide a seamless digital customer journey for new car online sales (increase compared to 2022: +8.3%; 2021: +109.7%)
  2. More than 60% of assessed OEMs relocated parts of the digital customer journey to mobile apps for a better customer experience and enabled future revenue streams in after-sales
  3. Best performance of automotive OEMs in their domestic markets
  4. Strong increase in the UK market performance according to the number of shops with seamless customer journeys (+42.9%) and average market maturity score (28.8 out of 51)
  5. Development continues with significant differences in online sales maturity in markets, new e-mobility players vs. traditional OEMs, volume vs. premium brands

Study results

Tesla remains the global champion in 2023 regarding direct sales in all markets and regions. The American automaker is still one of a few that enables customers to purchase individually configurated cars online. Closely following are the two German OEMs, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which score the highest after Tesla with their German online shops. However, customers cannot buy an individually configurated car directly online or can only make a reservation. Polestar is still classified as the biggest challenger to Tesla in offering a seamless customer journey.

The UK market was identified as the market showing the most significant improvement in the number of shops with a seamless customer journey compared to last year’s study. China is in the lead regarding the number of online shops offering a seamless customer journey. Customers in the Chinese market finish the purchase check-out on their mobile phones through WeChat or Alipay. The UK, Germany, and France lead the way for traditional online stores in Europe, but there is a general trend showing the implementation of apps in the customer journey: More than 60 % of the assessed OEMs implemented mobile apps into the customer journey to enhance the customer experience.


Regional differences remain notable. As most of the evaluated OEMs are from Europe and China, we observed the highest increase in new online shops and the most substantial improvements regarding the provided customer journeys in these regions. In general, OEMs perform best in their domestic markets and still don’t offer the same maturity in other markets, leading to significant differences in the total score.

In general, we observed the rising importance and demand for sales apps and digital services included in all three phases of the customer journey (Pre-Sales, Sales, and Handover). We have also seen an increasing maturity in AR/VR opportunities that premium OEMs have already implemented. Dacia is the first OEM in the volume segment, that allows customers to see a configurated car via app in their physical environment as part of the pre-sales phase. This provides Dacia with an important competitive advantage.

Our recommendations

Automotive direct sales models

Leading OEMs need to transform their business models by not only selling cars online but revolutionizing their D2C sales and after-sales processes to deliver superior customer experience. BearingPoint can support you in knowing your market position by benchmarking sales and digital services, designing an agency sales model and rolling it out, to implementing OEM-driven after-sales processes and platforms for parts and accessories.

Customer experience

Higher customer satisfaction through personalized and integrated digital processes leads to increased information availability, time savings, and transparency. BearingPoint offers an end-to-end service from strategic target picture definition to rollout and scaling of customer experience across the customer journey. The as-is evaluation and fit-gap analyses with strategic objectives deliver the target experience in sales and after-sales.

Data and digital service monetization

Developing data-driven use cases within and outside the core automotive industry and assessing business cases and roadmaps enable new business models and additional revenue streams. BearingPoint supports OEMs in finding the sweet spot to generate additional revenues through a broader ecosystem without harming the existing business.

Have we caught your interest? The detailed results, further background information, and the ranking of the Online Sales Awards 2023 are available in the study document.

  • Study: New Car Online Sales 2023
    Study: New Car Online Sales 2023 1.24 MB Download
  • Infographic
    Infographic 1.48 MB Download

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