James Tew, left, and Scott Sibley at Car Dealer Live 2024James Tew, left, and Scott Sibley at Car Dealer Live 2024

CDL 2024

Friends and family are biggest influence on people buying used cars, research finds

  • Exclusive research presented by iVendi at Car Dealer Live 2024
  • CEO reveals findings of poll delving into experiences and preferences of used car buyers
  • James Tew was joined on stage by Redgate Lodge MD Scott Sibley
  • Dealers are urged to raise prominence of finance on their websites

Time 7:06 am, March 17, 2024

Family and friends are the biggest influence on people when it comes to buying a used car.

That was one of the key findings from exclusive research presented at Car Dealer Live 2024 by connected motor retail tech specialist iVendi.

It polled 1,000 used car buyers, delving into their experiences and preferences, and when asked by Car Dealer associate editor James Batchelor what influenced online buyers the most, iVendi CEO James Tew told delegates at the research session: ‘There was a clear winner – friends and family.’

They came in at 61% – massively ahead of second-placed online reviews at 31%.

‘That was a bit of a surprise,’ said Tew. ‘I knew that they were influential, but not to the tune of 61%.’

Tew commented that the pandemic had been an unusual time for the industry with a huge acceleration in online sales.

He said Cazoo had normalised the concept of online sales, but quickly added that that was the only thing he’d give the online used car retailer – which announced the day before the conference that it planned to shelve sales and become an advertising marketplace – credit for.

Delegates at our conference, held at the British Motor Museum on March 7 and headline-partnered by Auto Trader, also heard Tew talk about how consumers would view online purchases differently.

‘Consumers would actually look at a reservation as being an online sale, believe it or not,’ he said, adding: ‘If you ask 10 friends of yours what they think online buying is, they’ll all have a different view, especially with a vehicle.’

He told how iVendi accelerated the connection between online journeys and showrooms during the pandemic.

Tew was joined on stage by Redgate Lodge MD Scott Sibley who, he said, adopted it very quickly and became hugely successful on the back of it.

‘Online trends are certainly up. Consumers view it differently than we do. They like online, they like to use online tools,’ commented Tew.

He also said that iVendi had looked at how much of the process could be put online while keeping customers happy, since online reduced operational costs.

‘It’s much cheaper to build a website than it does a showroom,’ he said.

Asked by Batchelor if the data chimed with his business and whether he’d seen a shift to online since the pandemic, Sibley concurred, saying: ‘Definitely. The conversions and applicants that have come through is really high, so it’s definitely good.’

He added that he’d ‘100%’ seen more consumers wanting to do online more of the jobs they originally would have done in the showroom. ‘It’s good. And it saves the salesman time. Processes are much easier.’

Turning to how people paid for their cars, Tew revealed that 47% of consumers looked at dealer funding as their first option, while second with 40% was savings. Meanwhile, 68% used online tools to generate quotes.

And Tew stressed that dealers really needed to raise the prominence of finance on their websites.

‘Unfortunately, a lot of the website providers that have used our tools in the past and our competitors’ tools have just literally got a full-page advert and slapped it on at the bottom, because that was the best place to put it – but it’s the wrong place.

‘If you make that vehicle affordable and people like that car because they’re looking at it, they will typically go to buy it and other information becomes a lot less relevant. So I think from a prioritisation point of view it needs to be right up there with the vehicle price.’

Tew also emphasised that something would be needed to replace Gap insurance. ‘Otherwise, you’re going to have to put that margin back into metal – that’s the only other place to put it really. The sale of add-on products is going to be key,’ he said.

Other topics discussed during the research session included compliance, part-exchanging online, Consumer Duty, online tools driving engagement – especially for EVs, and the FCA probe into discretionary commission.

Watch all of the Car Dealer Live sessions and panels on the CarDealerLive.co.uk website with a replay ticket. All are available on video to watch at your leisure.

You can also download the iVendi research paper here.

Pictured at top are James Tew, left, and Scott Sibley at Car Dealer Live 2024

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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