Trust or Bust: CarGurus Survey Finds Canadians Demand Trust and Transparency In Purchase Decisions

CAMBRIDGE, Mass, June 8, 2017 –  CarGurus, a leading car research and shopping site, today released a survey that found trust is a leading factor when Canadians shop for expensive purchases like houses, cars and mortgages. Along with trust, the survey results show that Canadian consumers also prioritize transparency when making large purchases, and both price information and customer reviews play a large role in informing their opinions and decisions.

Survey findings include:

  • When making a major online purchase, 73 per cent of respondents note that the website’s trust and transparency is the most important factor when compared to speed, efficiency, design and shareability.
  • Nearly half of Canadians rely on customer reviews to determine if a website is trustworthy and 31 per cent gauge trustworthiness by word of mouth.
  • 40 per cent of respondents note that when researching expensive items online positive and negative customer reviews would make the process more transparent and trustworthy.

Price transparency proved to be a major factor when judging whether a seller was trustworthy. Survey respondents indicated that the car shopping process is very much in need of increased transparency dealers are to win the trust of Canadian car shoppers. When asked which major purchases (car, home, mortgage, event tickets, all or none of these items) provided the most transparent information on price, only obtaining a mortgage (7 per cent) fared worse than car buying (9 per cent).

Additional survey findings include:

+ More than a third of Canadians feel duped and will lose trust in the seller if the price in store is greater than what they read online.
+ 23 per cent answered that a detailed cost breakdown would increase trust and transparency.

“Establishing trust goes a long way with consumers, particularly those making big purchases,” said Sarah Welch, SVP of Consumer Marketing. “In our experience at CarGurus, we’ve seen just how much transparency – providing reliable, easily accessible customer reviews, engaging with negative reviews and keeping updated price information across online inventory platforms – enhances the consumer shopping experience, and in turns benefits dealers.”

These observations are based on a February 2017 online survey of more than 1,000 randomly selected participants, 18 years of age and older.

Full survey results can be viewed here.

How CarGurus Works

Shoppers can conduct searches at CarGurus’ desktop or mobile sites (, and can filter their search based on vehicle preferences and distance radius. They can also request automated inventory and price drop email alerts.

With every search a user conducts, CarGurus ranks results according to which offer the best deal and qualifies each deal as “great,” “good,” “fair,” or “overpriced.” Rankings and deal ratings are determined by mathematical models which factor an Instant Market Value (IMV) for each car as well as dealership ratings submitted by the CarGurus shopper community. IMV assessments are based on analysis of hundreds of thousands of listings and take into account variables including year, make, model, trim, options, mileage, location and vehicle history. Organic search rankings on the site are strictly data-driven, providing consumers with an independent, unbiased view on how available listings compare.

About CarGurus

Founded in 2006 by Langley Steinert, co-founder of TripAdvisor, CarGurus ( is a leading online automotive shopping website focused on bringing transparency and efficiency to the car research and shopping experience. The site uses technology and market data analysis to help millions of automotive shoppers search for cars and quickly identify the best deals from top-rated dealers in their local area. Today, in the United States, the site serves 23 million unique monthly users and more than 20,000 car dealerships, and ranks #1 among car shopping websites in the U.S. by daily unique visitor traffic. CarGurus launched its Canadian site in 2015.

Shannon Todesca