Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Committee Chair

Ellen Campos Sousa


This dissertation was focused on the current digital purchasing trend in the used automotive industry in order to understand which factors impacted the growth of this trend through the lens of generational cohort theory. The growth of consumer informedness in the automotive sector has created drastic changes in how consumers are able, and willing, to purchase vehicles. Used car dealerships who adopt successful internet marketing techniques can capture and engage potential customers and then convert that engagement into sales. Companies like Carvana, Vroom, and CarMax have seized this opportunity and created a digital marketing phenomenon with major impacts on consumer purchasing behavior throughout the durable goods sector. As consumer behavior trends toward an increase in digital shopping and purchasing, this research shows that the generations considered digital natives are mostly driving that trend, which has significant implications for the sales and marketing efforts of automobile dealers. While there was ample literature available regarding generational cohort theory and its impact on consumer behavior, there remained a noticeable gap in the academic body of knowledge examining this behavior in relation to large online purchases, such as automobiles. The research question under review was, to what extent do trust, social factors, and sales strategies impact online automobile purchase behaviors, and are the relationships among the constructs moderated by generational cohort theory? For this dissertation, a survey simulation of 1361 respondents was conducted to understand which key factors impact a consumer’s willingness to purchase an automobile online. The statistical testing revealed three variables that can help predict this behavior. Further, one of the hypotheses was rejected after testing, and the others were confirmed, but only with the moderation of certain generational cohorts. Future research should be considered that follows the trend of these cohorts in their high-involvement purchase decisions, particularly in the wake of Covid-19 and the impact from brick-and-mortar stores closing during the pandemic.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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