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Just 10% of car buyers want wholly-online retail experience

Volvo online car sales platform

Just 10% of UK car buyers plan to embrace a wholly online car retail experience facilitated by click and collect or click and delivery, JudgeService survey data has revealed.

The newly published State of the Nation Industry Report 2021 polled the views of 2,150 car owners and found that, despite an acceleration of online shopping and omnichannel car retail during COVID-19 lockdown periods, fe consumers want to purchase their next vehicle online.

In findings which appear fly in the face of the perceived momentum behind online car retail businesses like Cazoo, cinch and carzam, JudgeService reported that 73% of car buyers still want to visit a dealership in person.

Online retail options were most appealing to buyers aged between 36 and 45 – where 13% said they are likely to use one of these services – according to its findings.

Neil Addley, managing director at JudgeService“Our findings challenge the popular view that younger buyers are more likely to buy a car online, either by delivery or click and collect,” said Neil Addley, managing director of JudgeService.

“However, the actual results couldn’t be more different as a clear majority of buyers, across all age groups, want to visit a showroom in person to buy their next car.”

Last month Motorpoint reported that it sold 61% of its used car volume online in Q1 as it accelerated its ecommerce retail offering to deliver a record start to 2021.

While Mercedes-Benz had previously revealed its aim of selling 25% of its vehicles online by 2025, meanwhile, one-in-five Skoda sales will go the same way in the same timeframe while 100% of Volvo sales will be completed online by 2030.  

JudgeService car buyer intentions data from its State of the Nation Industry Report 2021 But Addley added: “While remote buying was the only way to transact during the lockdowns, consumers say they still want to visit showrooms, especially those with social distancing measures still in place, demonstrating the importance of viewing and test driving cars and interacting with sales executives before purchasing.”

JudgeService’s research also found 81% of car owners want to change their vehicle as soon they can, prompting it to urge dealers to engage with existing customers to maximise on their retail opportunity.

Addley said: “Dealers across the UK should use their databases to contact customers who have bought cars within the last 36 months to reap the benefits of these opportunities.

“Invite them down to the dealership, offer them a Covid-safe test drive and nurture that relationship between dealer and customer again and again.”


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