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Car buyers reluctant to spend over £15,000 online, says Dealerweb

Martin Hill, Dealerweb

Research conducted by Dealerweb has revealed that 77% of car buyers would be reluctant to spend over £15,000 on a new car online.

The car dealership enquiry management specialist highlighted buyers’ apprehension when revealing the findings of a survey of 1,200 motorists in which 93% of respondents said that they would never buy a new car worth more than £30,000 - below the £33,559 average value of a new car sold in the UK - via an online platform.

A further 52% of respondents to the survey said that they would never consider purchasing a new vehicle online "under any circumstance", Dealerweb said.

The results fly in the face of the assertions of online businesses such as iVendi, which found that 79% of car buyers would be “confident” or “completely confident” about buying a car online in its recent survey, and Rocker, which claims to have generated a greater than average options spend on Jaguar Land Rover vehicles via its online retail platform.

Following publication of its findings, Dealerweb said that dealers need to offer a ‘blended’ retail experience, as customers enquire online and transact their purchase in the showroom.

Martin Hill, managing director of Dealerweb, said: “Our research indicates a crucial caveat to the willingness of motorists in buying a car entirely online.

“Whilst just under half of those surveyed said they would possibly consider an online purchase, there is a steep drop-off in consumer interest in buying a car worth more than £15,000.”

Hill said that previous Dealerweb research had shown a significant increase in online enquiry volumes and the desire by customers to make initial enquiries through digital channels

He added: “We would therefore support the case for dealers to offer a ‘blended’ retail experience, and believe the most effective selling model is one that significantly invests in strong online channels and consumer shopping experiences at the initial stage of the buying journey, designed to funnel queries through to the showroom.

“For manufacturers, this evidences a need to ensure that dealers are optimising their online product channels, and are capturing as many leads as possible to drive more customers through showroom doors. “

While new car sales declined in the UK during the first quarter of 2018, Dealerweb released data in April revealing that online enquiries for new and used cars had increased by 11%, compared to a decline in volume for all other forms of enquiry.

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