44 per cent of respondents say they now do more shopping online because of the recession.
Most car buyers are happy to use the internet as a research tool. However, actually buying cars online is less common.
However, the potential to save money means over 75 per cent of people are more likely to now buy a car online than they were a year ago.
81 per cent of people say they would expect to pay less for a car on the internet. And car buying sites such as Autoquake are monitoring the increases.
Fredrik Skantze, chief marketing office, said: ‘We have seen more than a 260% increase in website traffic since the credit crunch started to take hold in June.
‘It looks like 2009 will be the year when buying a used car online becomes a mainstream phenomenon.
Skantze also revealed some interesting car buyer trends:
• Consumers are willing to widen their geographic search – 93 per cent, because of the economic downturn, are willing to travel further
• Buyers using Autoquake live 135 miles away from the car. This compares to 5 miles for a traditional dealer.
• 53 per cent of buyers say trust in the seller is the most important factor in buying online
• 21 per cent quote low price
• 14 per cent list a good return policy as key
As for benefits, over a third of respondents say saving money as the key reason why they buy online. But, notably, negotiating with a salesperson was important for 16 per cent of people.
Consumers say they feel at a power disadvantage when dealing with a professional car salesman. The Internet helps them restore the balance of power, by giving them information, but no pressure.