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Car buyers visiting more car search websites during COVID-19 lockdown

Men and women embark on online car buying

Over three-quarters of car buyers have increased their use of car search websites to inform their next purchase during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, according to research by eBay Motors Group.

With dealers across the UK forced to close showrooms and forecourts under lockdown restrictions, 76% of buyers said they are using more vehicle search sites for their next purchase, with 74% spending more time visiting them than before.

The research of 285 visitors to was conducted over the course of December 2020 when national and regional COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions were in force throughout the UK.

Most buyers (87%) said visiting multiple websites enabled them to narrow down their research to identify the vehicle they wanted to enquire about. While 84% said visiting different platforms enabled them to make an informed decision on the price they should expect to pay.

Research by What Car? found that consumer confidence among in-market car buyers is three times higher than during the UK's first COVID-19 lockdown during H1 2020.

82% of buyers said visiting multiple car search websites ensured they were able to see all the available cars in their vicinity.

Also, nearly three-quarters (74%) said visiting different platforms helped them decide which questions they wanted to ask dealers about the cars they were searching.

Lead volumes generated by Ebay Motors Group started the year on a positive trend, increasing 18% year-on-year in the first week of lockdown 3.0.

Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group, said: “With customers once again not allowed to visit showrooms in person, consumers are turning to more online vehicle search sites and investing more time than before the pandemic, using them to research their next purchase.

“This evolving approach to car buying means retailers who advertise their stock across multiple platforms are likely to capture the attention of more in-market buyers.

“The research shows buyers want clarity on pricing and the comfort of knowing they can see all the available cars in their local area.

“Our advice to dealers has always been to advertise across multiple car search touchpoints to achieve the highest levels of visibility and engagement. With lockdowns now in place across the UK, this needs to be a prime consideration for all dealers.”

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