Buyers still want to visit dealerships following Covid-19 restrictions

Time 12 months ago

Coronavirus restrictions aren’t putting off car buyers new research has found, with the majority saying they will visit a dealership as part of their next car purchase.

The research, carried out by eBay Motor Group’s Consumer Insight Panel, showed 56 per cent of buyers saying they will ‘definitely’ want to visit a dealership with a further 24 per cent saying they would ‘probably’ visit a dealership.

Only six per cent said they would ‘definitely not’ visit a dealership if they could avoid doing so, while six per cent said they would be ‘reluctant’ and eight per cent were undecided.

The Consumer Insight Panel polled 529 visitors to, during August and September, to gauge how Covid-19 considerations were impacting car buying decisions.

The survey also found that real life interaction is important to buyers.

After finding a car online, 39 per cent said they would phone a dealer direct, followed by 28 per cent choosing a walk-in at the dealership and then 22 per cent saying they would email first, followed by six per cent favouring text messaging and only four per cent saying they would use Live Chat first.

Marc Robinson, head of external sales at eBay Motors Group, said: ‘Dealerships across the country have worked hard to reopen and trade as normally as possible, while adhering to the government’s rules on social distancing.

‘Our research shows that this is meeting a clear consumer need – namely for a physical dealership experience including being able to view cars in the metal on forecourts and discuss purchases face-to-face with dealers in showrooms.

‘We believe those dealers who can be flexible in their approach and combine comprehensive online information and services alongside a reassuring offline experience will be best placed to secure future sales,’ he said.

‘Furthermore, the research indicates that Covid-19 may have heightened consumer expectations as to dealer response times as evidenced by telephone calls being the preferred contact method for 39 per cent of consumers and that 42 per cent of buyers expect a response to an email or texts within an hour.’

‘We know from our monthly Market View research that in-bound enquiries to dealers are currently tracking at 155 per cent higher than the lowest point of the lockdown back in March, emphasising the need for dealers to have processes and structure in place to manage higher levels of in-coming phone calls and emails from prospective customers.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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