The end of social distancing restrictions has eased the online car buying journey and expectations of what can be done online have declined from last year according to our latest research programme. Working with leading research agency Quadrangle throughout July and August, it’s evident that online is not yet consumers’ preferred method for contact – the need for face to face contact is still there. 

  • 65% of people expect to buy a used car in the showroom
  • Just 7% of people would purchase a used car entirely online
  • Car buying apps rated 13th of 14 in comfort levels amongst a broad group led by marketplace services such as Amazon & eBay and online banking

While online is still the preferred option for researching vehicles, the appetite to complete the purchase entirely online is low, albeit it has risen slightly compared to the pre-pandemic era. However, expectations for the ability to complete the car buying journey online is declining.

One fascinating digital trend is the low levels of engagement with apps. Only dating apps featured lower than car buying. The feedback pointed to the lack of desire for this service, meaning people are not comfortable using these apps combined with a lack of functionality.

Commenting on this aspect of what has been a comprehensive research programme, Managing Director Karl Werner reflects;

“Online clearly has a critical role in the car buying journey, but very largely, regardless of age, it is very evident from this research that the majority of people prefer to talk to a person about a used car purchase. This does not mean that dealers should ease up on digitisation, far from it; it is a critical part of customers’ discovery phase, but what it does highlight is the importance of high quality, tailored personal service.”