Buying Your Car Online: the New Normal?

Posted on 8th April 2021

In the last twelve months so many of our daily habits have been completely transformed. And this is particularly true of our shopping habits. Whilst many people were already shopping online pre-pandemic, multiple lockdowns have rapidly accelerated the rate at which we buy online as well as introducing eCommerce to generations that would otherwise never have engaged with it. 

A recent study by Vauxhall indicated that a massive 9 in 10 people will continue to do their shopping online even after lockdowns are a thing of the past. The majority of respondents to the survey stated that they find shopping online a more stress-free experience, and 28% indicated that they preferred the feeling of not being under-pressure when considering a purchase. 

Dashboard and steering wheel of a Mercedes car

So what does this mean for online car sales? Well, even those who frequently shop online have historically preferred to make larger purchases such as cars in person. However, the pandemic has seen a shift in this behaviour. In fact, in the study carried out by Vauxhall, 1 in 10 people said that they had already bought a car online. A further 1 in 5 indicated that when ready to buy their next car they would happily make the purchase online. 

Perhaps then, shoppers are beginning to feel more confident about larger purchases being made online in response to the reassurances brought in by some car dealerships. At HPL Motors, we offer a personalised video tour of the car, carry out our 128-point checklist before selling any vehicle to a customer, and offer a 30-day peace of mind period. All of these types of initiatives help customers to feel reassured and confident in making larger purchases online. 

Just as we often buy shoes online without having tried them on, confident that we can return them if they aren’t right, shoppers are now beginning to view cars in a similar way. This is particularly true when shoppers are dealing with retailers they already trust. The survey highlighted that trust in the business the shopper is purchasing from was the biggest factor for most respondents. This was closely followed by having a user-friendly website, which as well as making the purchase more streamlined, also helps build that trust further. 

This shift in shopping behaviour then that the pandemic has accelerated by several years certainly seems here to stay. In fact, it looks only to accelerate. 

Get car finance in 60 seconds