A car is purchased every nine minutes online with the most popular time to buy a vehicle between 10am and midday, according to data compiled by GForces.
The company said the findings, obtained by its NetDirector Auto digital platform, highlighted the shift to purchasing online due to the coronavirus pandemic, which carmakers and retailers could be capitalising on by implementing an ‘effective eCommerce strategy’.
Tim Smith, chief commercial officer at GForces, said: “The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for carmakers and retailers to operate an effective eCommerce strategy. Leading-edge digital technology designed to complement offline channels is essential to delivering sales success.
“While the data provided by our NetDirector Auto-e platform clearly shows the huge acceleration in online car buying, one can be certain that there is much more change to come and that it will come quickly.
“There has never been a more pressing need for the auto industry to invest in online buying platforms. However, that is not to say that the traditional car showroom is consigned to history. Far from it in fact. They have a critical role to play.
“Blending ‘bricks and clicks’ as part of an enjoyable, seamless omnichannel consumer experience is the key to the future.”
Yesterday (February 22) Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out his four step plan to bring England out of the latest COVID-19 lockdown, allowing non-essential retailers - such as car showrooms - to reopen no sooner than April 12.
The GForces data also revealed the increase in home delivery, up 35% between January 2020 and January 2021. Deliveries peaked in the lockdown months, particularly in April where it accounted for 14% of all sales alone.
The research found that British car buyers are also securing cars online from further afield, with the average distance of 80 miles recorded with online transactions, compared to only 35 miles for face-to-face purchases.
A trend which emerged during 2020 was the growth of Android and Apple Pay for making online purchases to cover car reservation fees, deposits, and outright purchase, according to GForces data.
These new payment methods accounted for £23m of sales since being integrated into the NetDirector Auto-e platform, with GForces forecasting the figure to rise.