Almost one in 10 people have bought a used car without seeing it in person, or considered doing so, during the Covid-19 pandemic, new data shows.
AA Cars quizzed nearly 19,000 people and found eight per cent have bought, or have considered buying, a used car they have not seen in the metal during the pandemic.
And of those drivers who have bought a car unseen during the pandemic, 84 per cent said they would do so again.
However, nearly half (47 per cent) of drivers said they would never buy a used car without seeing it in person first.
The data suggests that the ability to visit a forecourt remains important to many, and that dealers who offer a range of ways to buy will appeal to the widest range of buyers, said AA Cars.
Reassurance that a car has been inspected by a trusted company was the factor most likely to make a driver willing to buy a car unseen.
Over half (51 per cent) of drivers said an inspection by a trusted company would increase the likelihood of them buying a used car without seeing it in person first.
Drivers rated having no charge for returning a car if they decide to cancel as the second highest incentive which would make them likely to buy a car unseen, and having clear information about their right to cancel was third.
However, there remains a high number of drivers who say they would never buy a car without seeing it in person, indicating there is still enduring demand for forecourts that people can visit
Almost half (47 per cent) of drivers said knowing the dealer was associated with a trusted body would make them more likely to buy a car without seeing it in person first, and 45 per cent said they would want a click-and-collect option where they could choose to cancel if they don’t like the car when they go to pick it up.
James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, said: ‘Dealerships were forced to innovate like never before during the pandemic, and many offered click and collect and home delivery services for the very first time.
‘Our data shows this appears to have been a positive experience for an overwhelming majority of drivers, with more than 80 per cent of them saying they would do the same again in the future, suggesting that dealerships would benefit from continuing to offer their new digital services once the pandemic ends.
‘However, there remains a high number of drivers who say they would never buy a car without seeing it in person, indicating there is still enduring demand for forecourts that people can visit.
‘For dealers who want to expand their click-and-collect and home delivery services, our survey revealed the factors that would make drivers most likely to buy a used car unseen.
‘Buyers said that above all they want reassurance that a car has been inspected by a trusted company, suggesting that partnering with an independent inspection service helps drivers feel they can buy with confidence.
‘Drivers also want transparency over their right to cancel, and many would be more inclined to buy a car unseen if they knew they could return it free of charge if they were not happy.’