Online vehicle buying is the new normal, reports carwow
Just over half (54 per cent) of recent car buyers in the UK have said they will do the bulk of their car buying online from now on, according to a new survey from carwow, the car buying comparison website. This compares to 45 per cent in Spain and 38 per cent in Germany.
The survey of over 1,000 carwow customers across the UK, Germany and Spain, has highlighted a change in tide for the future of vehicle retailing across Europe.
The coronavirus pandemic forced vehicle dealers across the globe to close their doors, with many relying on their ability to showcase vehicles for sale online. The survey results show that 43 per cent of recent buyers in the UK purchased a new car without ever visiting a showroom (compared to 23 per cent in Germany and 13 per cent in Spain), and 36 per cent of all UK buyers valued changes made by the dealers to accommodate remote buying. One in three customers in the UK took advantage of a virtual video tour of the car they were looking to buy – significantly more than their counterparts in Europe.
Carrying out a test drive was the biggest reason why carwow buyers in each of the three countries visited a showroom since they reopened their doors – the option of a test drive from the comfort of their own home ranks high on the buyers’ wish list. One in four customers in the UK who were not offered an end-to-end digital purchase process would have liked this option.
Carwow CEO, James Hind, comments: “Consumer appetite for online buying has been sharpened by the pandemic, which forced many who have previously resisted digital purchasing, to embrace it. What is yet to be proven is if this trend will continue, but our survey of carwow customers, not just here in the UK but in Spain and Germany too, firmly indicates that online buying of cars is now the new norm.
“What we are seeing, however, is that alongside an increase in consumer willingness to transact digitally, is a need for the purchase to be supported by a wider range of remote support services. An end-to-end digital purchase process is almost expected, whilst tools that empower buyers to make decisions, such as virtual vehicle tours and from-home test drives, are growing in demand.
“Our findings also revealed that dealers in all three countries are being applauded by the car buying public for adapting digitally to their needs and making showrooms safe since they reopened."
Many motorhome, campervan and caravan dealerships have also adapted their buying process, with many now offering virtual showroom and vehicle tours, remote purchase options and covid-secure vehicle handovers.