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Used car buyers taking longer to find ‘best price’

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Used car buyers are taking longer to research their next vehicle and searching more automotive websites as they focus on achieving the ‘best price’ possible, survey data shows.

According to eBay Motors Group’s 2021 Digital Touchpoints Survey, which polled the views of 2,000 buyers in June, buyers are currently spending an average of six weeks (42.1 days) searching online for their next purchase – up from 40.5 days in 2019.

A significant majority of buyers (91.5%) continue to use at least two car search websites, while those using just one website dropped from 11.4% to 8.5%, it said.

And the most frequently cited reason for using multiple sites was to check to see if a car was being advertised at the best possible price. This increased to 87% of buyers, compared to 80% in 2019.

Other reasons included the need to have as much information as possible on which model to buy (86%) and to ensure a wide choice of available cars were being viewed in a specific search area (83.5%).

Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors GroupDermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group, said: “Our research identifies just how important it is for buyers to be able to check the price consistency of the model they want to purchase – seeing the same car listed on multiple platforms is providing that reassurance.

“Buyers are also spending longer online searching than before the pandemic, even though physical forecourts have been open since April.

“This highlights the continued need for car dealers to keep their digital shop windows updated at all times and to ensure their vehicles are seen in multiple places online.”

Last week data from JudgeService’s newly published State of the Nation Industry Report 2021 suggested that car buyers who take longer to ponder their next purchase were more likely to consider and electric vehicle (EV).

The survey of 2,150 car buyers found that petrol remains the fuel of choice for over half of the owners (55%) looking to purchase as soon as possible, rising to 58% planning to buy within two months.

But the rate tumbles to just 39% for those not planning to buy a car for at least 12 months.

Although only 7% of buyers plan to purchase an EV as soon as they can, this rises to 10% for those not planning to purchase for at least 12 months.

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