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Used car buyers spending longer online researching next purchase and use more search platforms than pre-Covid

  • New survey finds used car buyers are spending longer and browsing more
  • Typical buyer spends on average of six weeks researching and uses 3.5 websites
  • Price checking the main reason for using more than one website

Time 2 months ago

Buyers are spending longer searching for their next used car and browsing more online search platforms than they did before the pandemic.

That’s according to new data published by eBay Motors Group. Its 2021 Digital Touchpoints Survey, which quizzed 2,000 buyers in June and compared them with the last survey conducted before the pandemic in October 2019, found that buyers are currently spending an average of six weeks (42.1 days) searching online for their next purchase – up from 40.5 days in 2019.

The survey found 91.5 per cent of respondents use at least two car search websites, a rising trend since 2019, while those using just one website dropped from 11.4 per cent to 8.5 per cent.


eBay Motors Group says the average used car buyer uses 3.5 car search websites during their car buying journey.

This average rises for new buyers, who visit four sites, and those buying nearly new cars at 3.7 sites.

The increase in using multiple platforms was across the board with 69 per cent using three or more, 42 per cent using four or more and nearly a quarter (22 per cent) using over five.

The most frequently cited reason for using multiple sites was to check to see if a car was being advertised at the best possible price.


This increased to 87 per cent of buyers, compared to 80 per cent in 2019.

Other reasons included the need to have as much information as possible on which model to buy (86 per cent) and to ensure a wide choice of available cars were being viewed in a specific search area (83.5 per cent).

Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group, said: ‘Our research identifies just how important it is for buyers to be able to check the price consistency of the model they want to purchase – seeing the same car listed on multiple platforms is providing that reassurance.

‘Buyers are also spending longer online searching than before the pandemic, even though physical forecourts have been open since April.

This highlights the continued need for car dealers to keep their digital shop windows updated at all times and to ensure their vehicles are seen in multiple places online.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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