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63% of UK car buyers are now open to buying online

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Nearly two out of every three car buyers say they are now open to buying their next car online. That’s according to CarGurus 2021 Buyer Insights Report, which analysed the digital purchasing paths of over 1,500 car buyers in the UK.

The report, which is the first of its kind from the car shopping website investigated consumer trends, attitudes and the continued evolution of the market during Covid-19.

The shift to digital purchase paths has increased dramatically over the last number of months. Pre-pandemic just 42% of buyers said they were open to buying online, that figure now stands at 63% as consumer behaviour continues to adapt.

Car ownership is here to stay. While the way people buy cars may change in the next decade, nearly all (93%) plan to maintain or increase the number of vehicles in their household. Over a third of millennials surveyed indicated they plan to buy more.

Wendy Harris, CarGurus SVP Sales, UK Managing Director said: “As part of our continued commitment to car dealers and car buyers, we undertook our first ever “CarGurus 2021 Buyer Insight Report” to better understand how the car buying journey is evolving during these challenging times. With shutdowns due to the pandemic, 63% of buyers told us they are now open to buying their next car online. Before the pandemic this figure stood at 42% - showing a clear change in buyer behaviour. For our dealer partners, it has never been more important to have the best ad imagery, vehicle descriptions and a strong lead follow up strategy for all online ads.” 

When it comes to choosing a car dealer, 59% of buyers said price was the most important consideration, followed by location (39%), probability of a fair deal (27%), and availability of inventory (23%). What drives vehicle selection? Practical factors such as budget (38%), reliability (34%), and driving feel (29%).

The report also revealed petrol cars remain the most popular. Hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles, however, are often in the consideration sets of new car buyers today (39% considered hybrid, 22% considered electric). Hybrids have even surpassed diesel in popularity among new buyers.

After researching independently online, buyers first reach out to dealers most often by phone (36%) or online (31%). The average buyer contacts just 3 sellers and 50% visit only one dealer

CarGurus is the fastest growing online automotive marketplace in the UK among its nearest competitors.* Our team is on hand to talk through solutions for your dealership, so why not give them a call today on 0808 169 2794 or fill out this form for more information.

* Comscore MMX Multi-Platform®, Total Unique Monthly Visitors, Custom-defined list includes:,,,, Jan 2019 – Dec 2019 to Jan 2020 - Dec 2020, UK

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