close up of handshake in auto show or salonclose up of handshake in auto show or salon


Car salesrooms ‘not attracting younger buyers’

Time 11:02 am, April 9, 2019

THE polished floors, shiny cars and bright lights of car salesrooms still appeal to the over-55s, but younger age groups are much more likely to buy their car elsewhere.

That’s according to a new Opinium survey of more than 2,000 UK drivers, commissioned by Gap insurance supplier, which found that 82 per cent of over-55s bought their new or second-hand car from a car showroom, compared with 60 per cent of 18-to-34-year-olds, who are more than twice as likely as over-55s to have used a private seller advert when buying their car.

One in five of under-34s said they found car salesrooms intimidating – twice the number of over-55s. Women also said they found them more intimidating than did men – 16 per cent against nine per cent.

A fifth also found negotiating stressful and would rather cars were advertised at the final selling price than having to negotiate (22 per cent of men versus 17 per cent of women). Over-55s were more comfortable negotiating than younger generations, though.

Almost a third (32 per cent) of buyers go to car showrooms but then compare the cars’ prices online.

For those avoiding car salesrooms, nearly one in 10 (nine per cent) were happy to buy a car from a reputable seller online without having ever seen it, and the same number were happy to travel across the country to collect a car bought online. In both cases, men were twice as likely to do so than women.

Surprisingly, more than half (51 per cent) said they would buy a car that they hadn’t test-driven, with men again more likely to do this than women (56 per cent men and 47 per cent women). Almost one in five UK drivers (17 per cent) would also buy a car on their own without consulting their partner.

Ben Wooltorton, chief operating officer of, said: ‘Older generations are used to face-to-face interactions being the norm, so maybe this is the reason why they aren’t intimidated or put off by the atmosphere of a car salesroom. For younger generations, used to doing everything online, it might feel a more alien and less comfortable environment. Car salesrooms might need to find new ways to engage with a younger audience, who are used to shopping around, comparing prices and buying things online.’

MORE: James Baggott – Where next for new car sales? The finger is pointing at the internet

MORE: Cox Automotive predicts used car sales will exceed two million in Q1

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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