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More people are looking to buy their next car online despite showrooms reopening, according to new research

  • What Car? poll finds nine per cent of motorists say they expect to buy their next car over the web
  • In January – when showrooms were physically shut – that figure was seven per cent
  • Two-fifths wouldn’t visit a showroom if they could have a live virtual tour of prospective car instead

Time 1 week ago

Nearly one in 10 in-market buyers say they’re expecting to get their next car entirely online – more than during the last lockdown.

That’s according to new research from What Car? which found that 42 per cent of 1,816 people polled were comfy with buying their next car online and nine per cent said they were expecting to buy it over the internet.

That’s despite showrooms reopening and compares with a poll of 2,336 in January, which revealed that 43 per cent were comfortable with the notion and seven per cent said they planned on doing so.

The latest research also showed that two-fifths wouldn’t bother visiting a showroom if they were able to have a live virtual tour of the car they were interested in.

Meanwhile, 41 per cent said a 30-day money-back guarantee would make them more likely to buy online, 35 per cent wanted home-delivered test drives to be widely available, and 20 per cent wanted an extended warranty on online purchases.

What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: ‘Our latest industry research shows online buying is set to remain a key part of the sales mix for Britain’s automotive retail sector, even as it returns to normal, as nearly one in 10 buyers now expect to purchase their next vehicle online.

‘We’re also seeing manufacturers actively looking to increase uptake of online-only retail, offering specific discounts on cars bought online, or extended warranties on new models as part of online-only exclusive deals.


‘The pandemic acted as a catalyst for change, causing businesses to change, often for the better.

‘For a significant proportion of buyers, online buying is now easier than ever, and as manufacturers and retailers continue to develop their offerings, it is only likely to get even more popular in the future.’

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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