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Older buyers head online to buy cars following Coronavirus pandemic

Buyacar homepage 2017

Online car buying is becoming more appealing to older drivers for the first time, according to the latest study from Buyacar.

In the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, the web-based car supermarket says it has identified "unexpected changes" in the attitudes of car-buyers segmented by gender and age, with previously sceptical consumer groups fast embracing an Amazon-style ‘click and receive’ way of buying cars.

Historically, Buyacar’s customer base has been “overwhelmingly youthful”, with sales growth driven fastest by women.

New research into future consumer intentions shows that men and older people are less cautious about buying cars online than at any previous time.

Today, close to one in four motorists say they are prepared to buy a car online, without seeing it first, but for the first time that confidence is increasing with age.

For example, confidence in buying a car online is now rising among more mature drivers and peaking in the 35-44 year old age bracket, suggesting that today’s typical Buyacar customer in their mid-20s may eventually become the exception rather than the rule.

Men are now twice as confident as women to say they are ready to opt for the online purchase experience, without test-driving or inspecting the car first.

Meanwhile, scepticism is falling away across all consumer groups, with determination to see and test a car before buying it now concentrated among the under-25s and the over-65s.

With an annual market of more than ten million new and used cars sold in Britain each year, investors are now pouring money into creating online car sales and delivery operations. Rarely a month goes by without new entrants announcing that they are poised to join the likes of Buyacar, Cazoo and Heycar.

“For the first time since Buyacar launched 18 years ago, we are able to confidently say that the online car buying experience is for everyone,” said Andy Oldham, chief executive of BuyaCar.co.uk.

“Huge investment by new businesses in this market is one sign that buying online is not just here to stay but poised to become the main way in which people buy cars tomorrow.

“But our latest research confirms that this market is not just growing fast but rapidly evolving from a niche for younger people to a mainstream option for all car buyers,” he added.

AM webinar: The AM Motor Retail Review (Monday July 6 at 2pm)

This 45-minute webinar will discuss the UK motor retail industry’s achievements in the first month of trading since lockdown ended for England’s car dealers, including:

· June’s new car registrations and used car opportunities.

· The lessons learned from social distanced trading.

· How dealers balance the return to trading and their need to limit their costs.

· Prospects for Q3 and critical steps for success.

Chaired by AM editor Tim Rose, his invited guests will include senior executives of AM100 dealers, suppliers and OEMs, who’ll share their own experiences since lockdown ended and outline some ways dealers can sustain their business recovery.

Rose said: “This is a crucial moment for UK motor retail. The new car registrations data from the first month since lockdown will tell us how strongly the industry is fighting back, and there’ll be feedback on how customers and staff are coping with new processes and PPE in showrooms.

“The lessons of the last few weeks must help motor retail prepare for Q3 and the looming plate-change campaign.”

Guest speakers signed up so far:

Tim Duckers, Cambria Automobiles

Duckers is the motor division managing director of AM100 motor retailer Cambria Automobiles, working alongside chief executive Mark Lavery to lead a portfolio of franchised dealerships from volume mainstream such as Vauxhall and premium brands such as Jaguar Land Rover to high luxury brands such as Bentley and Rolls Royce.

Steve Le Bas, BDO

Le Bas is the head of motor retail at accountants and business advisers BDO. He has some 20 years’ experience working with motor trade clients, including statutory audits, assisting their internal accounting functions and conducting due diligence assignments for prospective motor trade purchasers.

Dale Wyatt, Suzuki GB

As head of automobile at Suzuki GB, Wyatt is responsible for the brand health of Suzuki cars and splits his time between working with the UK management team, Suzuki’s dealer network and the parent company in Japan.

Ian Plummer, Auto Trader

Plummer, commercial director at Auto Trader, joined the car sales platform in 2017 after heading sales operations and franchise management at Volkswagen UK and before 15 years at Renault in roles at both the UK sales company and the head office in Paris.

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