A survey has found the proportion of people likely or very likely to buy without visiting a dealer has grown from 30 per cent since lockdown started to 50 per cent.
The poll of 880 prospective buyers by customer acquisition specialist TLA examined how buying behaviour had changed in the five weeks of the Covid-19 crisis up to April 26.
It found that more people were delaying buying a vehicle by one to three months – up from 27 per cent to 44 per cent.
However, the number of consumers looking to delay by more than three months fell for three consecutive weeks.
Meanwhile, nearly four-fifths (77 per cent) of those quizzed said in the week of April 20 that they’d opt for a different brand if they were unable to buy the one that they initially wanted.
That’s in marked contrast to the 55 per cent who said they’d change from their preferred brand at the start of lockdown, although it was down on the previous week’s figure of 83 per cent.
More and more people are wanting brands and showrooms to cut them a deal, too, rising from 13 per cent at the beginning of lockdown to 40 per cent for the week of April 20.
TLA said in its findings that with the rise in the number of people looking to buy as soon as the lockdown restrictions were lifted or eased, there was ‘a strong rationale for dealers and brands to engage with buyers now’.
It added: ‘Buyers are increasingly willing to switch brands and this may become challenging if new car order times extend as a result of supply-chain issues’ so buyers needed nurturing and developing now in relation to their preferred brands
‘The current market is full of uncertainty, and the amount of “noise” may increase when lockdown ends as brands/dealers come to market with tactical offers, lead times extend and there is confusion around how buyers can purchase cars safely,’ it concluded, emphasising that dealers needed to provide education and guidance.
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