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Cost-of-living crisis means used car buyers are turning to older models to save money – eBay Motors Group

  • Data finds that 81 per cent of searches on Motors.co.uk in August were for cars aged five years or older
  • Age profile accounts for just over half of all cars listed on the eBay Motors Group platform
  • Experts say cost-of-living crisis in behind the change with buyers placing higher value on affordability
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Time 8:27 am, August 31, 2023

Used car buyers are tightening their purse strings and favouring older vehicles in response to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, new research has suggested.

Data collected by eBay Motors group found that four in five online searches for cars this month have been for models that are five-years-old or more.

The firm’s analysis revealed that older cars have made up 81 per cent of the searches on its Motors.co.uk platform this month, compared to 77 per cent at the same point last year.


Experts found that cars in that age bracket made up 52 per cent of all listings on the website with stock availability increasing just 1.5 per cent, year-on-year.

The most searched for age band in August was for eight to ten-year-old models (16 per cent of all searches), followed by six to eight years (14 per cent) and ten to 12 years (14 per cent).

However, the most popular age bands being stocked by dealers were three to four, four to five and six to eight-years old models, which each accounted for 13 per cent of the total number of cars listed.


Elsewhere, stock headaches continued to irk dealers with used car stocks dropping to their lowest levels since May.

Average dealer inventories dipped month-on-month from 58 to 56 units, with the biggest shortfall being felt by franchised dealers – dropping from 75 to 70 units.

More than half (53 per cent) of the cars listed on Motors.co.uk this month were petrol, followed by diesel at 38 per cent.

Hybrids (six per cent) and EVs (three per cent) both continued to lag behind way behind when it came to market share.

Responding to the findings, Lucy Tugby, marketing director of eBay Motors Group, said: ‘Consumer demand was flat in August as buyers’ attentions and budgets switched to summer holidays.

‘However, for those buyers needing a car out of necessity, the focus was on older age profiles, demonstrating how the cost of living crisis is continuing to impact affordability.

‘Seasonality and limited supply saw dealers stocking fewer cars in August, while higher interest rates on stock funding would also have been a factor.

‘All eyes are now on how much of an impact the September plate-change will have on the retail sector and whether private buyers can be enticed back into showrooms, generating a welcome influx of part-exchanges for the used car market to retail over the coming months.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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