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Thinking of buying a new car? Consider doing it from your smartphone

Looking to avoid car salesmen at all costs? You might consider turning to your smartphone instead. At least, that appears to be the modus operandi for a surprising proportion of respondents in a recent study by Roadster, a company that specializes in — you guessed it — buying or leasing cars online.

In a poll of 1,185 consumers, Roadster found that a full third of participants said they would be just as willing to buy a car on their smartphone as they would, say, a new bag of cat food or a pair of shoes. Apparently, whether it’s $20 or $20,000, consumers are turning increasingly to their mobile devices to complete their transactions.

The reason behind this willingness, the study suggests, comes from our general distaste of haggling over prices at dealerships, and the belief that buying online is almost always cheaper than buying in person. In fact, 43 percent of respondents believed they’d save $2,000 or more by making a digital purchase, and 31 percent noted that they’d save up to four hours of their valuable time by avoiding an in-person deal.

That said, one thing you can’t do via your smartphone or the web is test drive a car. And that’s still important to buyers, with 86 percent of respondents noting that they’d want to take a potential new vehicle out for a spin before making a commitment.

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Interestingly enough, participants’ opinions didn’t appear to vary based on geography, with those living in tech hubs like San Francisco just as willing to buy via their smartphone as those outside Silicon Valley, Alley, or Forest. That said, income did play a part in responses — those households making $150,000 or more were more open to the smartphone route than their less affluent counterparts.

“It is clear from our survey that consumers are open to new ways of shopping for big ticket items,” said Roadster CEO Andy Moss. “We have incorporated some of the most cutting edge e-commerce technology into car shopping to make car buying as easy as buying anything else online.”