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Three quarters of car ‘searchers’ to buy within three months of lockdown lift

A line-up of older used cars

Three-quarters of those actively searching for a used car (76%) intend to purchase within three months of the Government’s lockdown restrictions being lifted, according to eBay Motors.

Its Covid-19 Consumer Sentiment Survey found that 38% of buyers have not postponed plans to buy a used car.

Of those who have postponed purchases, 17% say they will buy as soon as the lockdown is lifted, while a further 21% plan to buy within two to three months afterwards.

Around a quarter (24%) are not certain when they will buy.

“Although dealer showrooms have been closed since 24 March, used car buyers have still been active online with our research showing an eagerness among the vast majority to continue with their purchase plans,” said Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group.

“Dealers actively promoting their stock online and providing digital touchpoints which are resonating with buyers at a time when the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has clarified that retailers can sell cars remotely and deliver them to customers, so long as all Public Health England guidance is followed to protect both employees who cannot work from home and customers. Our advice to dealers is to engage with these in-market buyers and communicate how orders can be facilitated now or after the lockdown is lifted.”

The research confirmed the crucial role dealerships will play after the lockdown is lifted, with most customers who are postponing purchases citing the need to be able to test drive cars and to ask questions in person.

The survey also identified the key Covid-19 related information that consumers are looking for online. Top of the list was whether the dealership was open, both to confirm the services that are on offer at present and to understand whether the dealership is actively responding to enquiries.

Additionally, consumers wanted to know how dealers are preparing vehicles for sale, in particular what car cleaning protocols and disinfection services they are implementing.

“In terms of immediate actions, we would encourage dealers to update both the vehicle descriptions they use on sites like ours and the content on their own channels to make it clear what services they are currently offering, for example, safe home delivery or services for key workers. There is also clear appetite from potential buyers to understand what measures dealers are putting in place to ensure the hygiene of their vehicles. Again, where dealers have put these protocols in place, there may be competitive advantage in advertising these clearly online,” said Kelleher.

The research was carried out between 17-24 April and polled the views of 693 car searchers visiting the website or registered with

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