Increasingly stringent COVID-19 mitigation measures across the UK have failed to deter car buyers from their purchasing journey, with 95% still ‘in-market’ according to new research by Parkers.
A total of 47% of respondents to a survey on the Parkers website said that ‘Lockdown 2’ measures, which have led to the enforced closure of showrooms across England, had not affected their drive to buy a vehicle “as soon as possible”.
And while a marginally larger proportion (48%) said that their buying journey had been impacted, those customers said that they planned to continue researching their purchase and buy a car when the current restrictions are eased.
The car reviews and buying advice website said that 79% of its users said that its content would affect their choice of car, compared to just 40% who cited input from family – the next biggest influence.
Car buyers are rapidly embracing online buying as restrictions under Lockdown 2, according to Parkers’ research data.
Parkers editor, Keith Adams, said that a recent poll conducted by Parkers.co.uk found that 30% of respondents actively engaged in purchasing or financing a new car would definitely take on a new car without leaving home during the COVID-19 pandemic, while a further 24% would ‘maybe consider’ it.
This is a sharp increase in buyer intent since the April 2020, when 12% said that they’d definitely consider buying online.
Adams said: “This is good news for an embattled motor trade – unlike in April and May, when sales fell off a cliff, the rise in online car buying will at least maintain strong sales while there are still social restrictions in place.
“The challenge for car dealerships is ensuring that its sales teams are capable of offering virtual walkarounds of new cars, and be able to give buying advice online rather than face-to-face. It’s a culture shift for all of us in challenging times.”
Earlier this week Renault UK became the latest OEM to officially launch an online car sales platform following a decision made as a direct response to consumers’ COVID-19 lockdown-prompted shift towards digital purchasing.
The French carmaker’s UK managing director, Vincent Tourette, revealed in a recent AM manufacturer profile feature that the decision to follow budget sister brand Dacia into online sales had been made during the first coronavirus lockdown of car showrooms, between March and June.
Speaking this week, Tourette said: “We see this being particularly useful to customers and dealers in the current climate, and our experience from Renault’s sister brand’s Dacia Buy Online, shows that there is a growing number of customers who wish to carry out much more of the buying experience online and so we expect Renault Buy Online to prove a useful complement to the existing physical experience.”