Female car buyers are turning their backs on the showroom to become the key drivers of growth in the online sales arena, according to Buyacar.co.uk.
Research carried out among 1,000 customers by the online retail specialist revealed that women are more than twice as likely as men to describe the showroom environment as stressful and much less likely to report an enjoyable car-buying experience.
The number of female car buyers using one leading online car retailer almost doubled last year, Buyacar said, as increasing numbers of women looked to avoid the “stresses of pushy sales staff and face-to-face negotiating”.
In 2015 BuyaCar.co.uk’s female customers increased by 58%, compared with a 29% increase among men.
But last year the growth in female customers surged by 75%, while the increase among men was 22%.
BuyaCar.co.uk managing director, Austin Collins, said: “The option of quietly researching and calculating the best choices for you at your own pace is proving to be the perfect solution for women in particular and it’s certainly a big driver of growth for us.
“It’s possible that women are simply more honest than men about the stresses of buying a car in the traditional way but our consumer interviews certainly reveal that what should be an enjoyable experience is actually a difficult one for many people.
“However charming the sales staff, it seems many people simply don’t want to use a dealership to buy their next car. We’ve found that these customers – particularly women – are behind much of our recent record growth.”
When car buyers were asked how they feel about the typical purchasing process nearly half the women reported feeling ‘stressed’ by the experience, compared with only 20% of men.
One in four women also said that confusion over the vast array of car features and even finance options made for an uncomfortable experience in the traditional showroom environment, while only 11% of men say they are confused by the range of choices on offer.
But it was sales people who Buyacar identified as the thing that pushed women’s stress buttons most of all, with 58% saying they were put off by the face-to-face sales pitch.
Men weren’t far behind, with 55% describing a hard-sell approach as off-putting.
The growing consumer acceptance of buying cars online and having them delivered without ever setting foot in a traditional showroom is proving to be a big growth area for motor retailers.
But Collins added: “It’s not really bad news for dealers because our dealer partners understand that they are better able to reach these buyers with online selling.
“It’s not just a way to reduce customer stress – it’s the simplest way for retailers to boost sales for very little effort, while BuyaCar.co.uk takes care of the logistics and legislation involved.”