Posted 02 July, 2020 at 18:45
The online car sales market is maturing as fast as it expands
OLDER DRIVERS are fast becoming more open to buying a car unseen than ever before, new research reveals.
The finding comes from a study of more than 700 car buyers conducted by the web-based car supermarket BuyaCar.co.uk in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown which spurred more motorists to go online for their next car.
The company says it has identified unexpected changes in the attitudes of car-buyers segmented by gender and age, with previously sceptical consumer groups fast embracing an Amazon-style ‘click and receive’ way of buying cars.
While historically BuyaCar.co.uk has had an overwhelmingly youthful customer base and seen sales growth driven fastest by women, new research into future consumer intentions shows that men and older people are less cautious about buying cars online than at any previous time.
Today close to one in four motorists say they are prepared to buy a car online, without seeing it first, but for the first time that confidence is increasing with age.
With an annual market of more than ten million new and used cars sold in Britain each year, investors are now pouring money into creating online car sales and delivery operations. And rarely a month goes by without new entrants announcing that they are poised to join the big 3 of BuyaCar.co.uk, Cazoo and Heycar.
While the market expands, BuyaCar.co.uk’s latest research suggests that it is also maturing as it evolves.
For example, confidence in buying a car online is now rising among more mature drivers and peaking in the 35-44 year old age bracket, suggesting that today’s typical BuyaCar customer in their mid-20s may eventually become the exception rather than the rule.
And in another surprise finding, men are now twice as confident as women to say they are ready to opt for the online purchase experience, without test-driving or inspecting the car first. This is despite BuyaCar’s own experience in recent years of women being the fastest-growing customer group on the platform.
Meanwhile, scepticism is falling away across all consumer groups, with determination to see and test a car before buying it now concentrated among the under-25s and the over-65s.
BuyaCar asked 703 ‘in-market’ motorists about their attitudes to buying a previously unseen car online. Just under 25% of all respondents agreed with the statement “I would be confident in buying a car without seeing it, if it was protected by guarantees and a warranty.”
This rose to 33.9% of buyers aged 35-44 years and 31.2% for the age bracket 45-54. Even among 55-64 year olds the figure was 27.4%.
“For the first time since BuyaCar launched 18 years ago we are able to confidently say that the online car buying experience is for everyone,” said Andy Oldham, Chief Executive of BuyaCar.co.uk.
“Huge investment by new businesses in this market is one sign that buying online is not just here to stay but poised to become the main way in which people buy cars tomorrow.
“But our latest research confirms that this market is not just growing fast but rapidly evolving from a niche for younger people to a mainstream option for all car buyers.”