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Average car buying cycle falls to five days from first enquiry, data shows

Jeremy Evans, managing director at Marketing Delivery

Consumers are purchasing new cars within five days of making a first enquiry, according to Marketing Delivery.

The company evaluated the typical sales cycle for almost 400 franchised dealers across the UK, during August 2022, and found that the average amount of time between a consumer first enquiring about a new or used car to then making a purchase has fallen to just five days.

Prior to the pandemic, the average time between enquiry and purchase was 16 days, but by November 2021 this had dropped to just six days.

The way consumers research new and used car purchases changed drastically during the pandemic, and the Marketing Delivery analysis suggests some of these behaviours have become embedded.

“An even higher proportion of customers are coming to showrooms fully armed with all the information they need to make a confident decision about their next purchase,” said Jeremy Evans (pictured), managing director at Marketing Delivery. “In addition, many potential buyers are anxious about low stock levels, prompting them to act more quickly when they find a vehicle that meets their needs.

“We’ve also seen during recent months, when it hasn’t been possible to fulfil all orders thanks to stock shortages, the more progressive dealers are becoming much better at pre-qualifying enquiries so they can re-engage with the prospect when a relevant vehicle finally become available,” he added.

August proved to be a challenging month for car sales as the number of car retail vehicle handovers fell by 33%, according to iTrackLeads.

The lead management company said overall enquiries were down 21% in August, the second largest fall this year.

Supply issues are proving 'as damaging as COVID-19' to European car sales, according to Jato Dynamics.

While the new car registrations decline seen between March and June slowed in August Registrations through July were at similar level to those seen between January and June, July’s volumes were similar to 2020 when hit pandemic hit the market.

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