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One in six consumers want to buy a car completely online, finds survey

The surge in online purchasing during the coronavirus pandemic has prompted an increase in the number of people that no longer want to visits showrooms to buy cars.

Research conducted by automotive industry IT services and consultancy NTT Data, found that one in six people are looking to only use online platforms for future car purchases.

The latest findings represent a 500% increase on those that have previously bought a car entirely online.

Nick Smith, head of Manufacturing, Automotive and Services at NTT Data UK, said: “It is important for dealerships to note that customer buying behaviours are shifting towards digital platforms, with almost 1 in 6 consumers planning to purchase their next car using online platforms only.

“As the majority of digital buyers have plans to do so within the next two years, the onus is on car dealers to ensure their online platforms and communications are up to scratch to ensure the best customer experience possible. Having a strong digital presence has never been more important, and is vital if dealerships are going to thrive in the post-pandemic recovery.” 

NTT Data found that in-person and human interactions are set to decline, with 28% of respondents stating that they’d like to communicate with sellers online, using a website or email. 

Car dealers will need to act quickly to respond to these expectations, as according to the research, 22% of consumers intending to purchase their next car online have plans to do so within the next year. In addition, 61% stated that they were planning to buy within the next two years. 

NTT DATA’s research, conducted with 2,000 UK consumers, also asked about what type of car they had most recently bought, as well as the type of car they planned to buy next, which showed a strong trend towards electric vehicles and away from petrol and diesel.

Of the respondents surveyed, only 4% of people currently own an electric or hybrid electric vehicle, with the vast majority opting for petrol or diesel cars. However, 39% of respondents plan to shift away from petrol or diesel, to an electric or hybrid car with their next purchase. 

The latest AM industry special issue

There has never been such desire for management information, for on-the-spot monitoring, for streamlining and automation, as there is now.

With this in mind, AM asked suppliers of some of the critical technologies dealers can use in their businesses, whether at the front end or in back-of-house functions, to share their latest developments and technologies for the AM Dealer Technology Guide.


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