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Car buyers and dealers shunning showrooms

26th September 2019
Posted by Aston Avery

New research has revealed that car retailers are adopting online retailing models over the next few years, marketing and increasingly selling vehicles online, and motorists will be able to buy a car as easily as doing their weekly food shop. Like Waitrose, Morrisons and M&S, car dealers will still operate physical locations, they won’t be used primarily as showrooms or to complete the sales process. Auto Trader surveyed 2,000 motorists about their car buying habits for its latest Market Report and found that, even today, nearly half (45%) said that if they were buying a car on finance they would be happy to do the whole process online. And that figures rises to nearly two-thirds (64%) for the younger generation of buyers (18-34 year olds).

Auto Trader research also highlights that in the past car buyers typically visited five retailers; now that has dropped to just two. Retailers are being urged to embrace digital – dealers who have digitised their operations have seen stock turn (the time it takes to sell a vehicle) reduce to less than 40 days versus an industry average of 80 days. Unsurprisingly their margins are also much better – almost double. It comes as motorists say the car buying process is still too confusing – 75% think it’s difficult to work out the final price, and 88% think car prices should be more transparent. It’s estimated that online sales of cars are expected to pass one million global next year, and they will grow to six million by the 2025.

Aston spoke to Ian Plummer, Director at Auto Trader to discuss the research and the possible outcomes of what is likely to happen in the future as to when buying cars.