The Internet is continuing to grow as the most useful source of information for Australian would-be new-car buyers and newspapers are becoming increasingly irrelevant, a survey shows.

Roy Morgan Research says of the almost 2.3 million Australians in the market for a new car over the next four years, 55.5% nominate the Internet as the single most useful source of information. Only 17.5% of shoppers rely mainly on newspapers, as the traditional print media continues its decline in popularity.

Roy Morgan Research Automotive Group Account Director Jordan Pakes says there is some hope for the paper-and-ink brigade.

“With the average age of a new-car intender approaching 50, it’s worth noting that among those aged 50-plus, the gap narrows between the Internet and newspapers as the most useful media for researching their purchase,” Pakes says in a statement.  “Manufacturers and their media agencies would do well to bear this in mind.”

As consumers move along the path to purchase, their Internet research increases, with more than 70% of people intending to buy a new car in the next month going online for auto-related activities, he says.

“This trend is consistent among new-car intenders of all ages and seems to follow a pattern: checking vehicle features peaks around the 6-month stage, suggesting that potential buyers are firming up their requirements,” he says.

“Locating a dealer hits its highest point at the 3-month stage, followed by a final check of prices as buyers come within a month of purchase.”