Record numbers of car dealers are exploiting online sales according to online marketplace Buyacar.co.uk, which experienced a 41% uplift in business during 2016.
New figures released by online motor retail platform BuyaCar.co.uk reveal a 41% increase in sales during 2016 compared with the previous year and the business predicts that pressure on new car sales in 2017 is likely to increase the proportion of online sales through third parties.
The biggest surges came during the usual heavy new car activity periods but performance was consistently up on 2015 right through to December.
Used cars sold on behalf of dealers accounted for around 90% of BuyaCar.co.uk’s 2016 sales total.
BuyaCar.co.uk believes the figures reflect an industry-wide trend, which is backed up by data on consumer attitudes confirming that reluctance to complete the entire car purchase process online is fast disappearing.
Austin Collins, managing director of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: “Dealers are expected to feel the pressure this year as car price inflation forces them to work harder for sales.
“The SMMT themselves have confirmed that the new car market could move back by five or six per cent this year but that will probably likely to lead to further growth in online sales as dealers look to win sales from further afield.
“So, even if the new car market sees negative growth this year, we expect online sales to continue rising.”
In a recent survey of more than 800 car buyers 31% reported that they were now more likely to consider buying entirely online than they used to be.
March and September saw Buyacar achieve increases in sales of 32% and 34% respectively, with overall growth for the year of 41% driven by larger rises in some other months.
January saw an increase of 97% over the same period the year before.
Because 2017 is expected to bring inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty BuyaCar.co.uk expects to see dealers throwing the net wider to try to capture sales from further outside their own geographical areas.
In 2016 the average delivery distance from the originating dealer for a car supplied through BuyaCar.co.uk was 150 miles.