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Buyers spending longer online researching next used car purchase and use more search platforms than pre-Covid, finds eBay Motors Group data

  • Used car buyers spend an average of six weeks searching for next purchase
  • The average buyer uses 3.5 car search websites to find next used car
  • Price checking the main reason for using more than one website

26 July 2021 Consumers are spending longer searching for their next used car and are visiting more online search platforms than they did before the pandemic, according to eBay Motors Group.

These are among the key findings from their 2021 Digital Touchpoints Survey, which polled the views of 2,000 buyers in June and compared them with the last survey conducted before the pandemic in October 2019.

With used cars in high demand, 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.

A significant majority of buyers (91.5%) continue to use at least two car search websites, a rising trend since 2019. While those using just one website dropped from 11.4% to 8.5%.

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% using three or more, 42% using four or more and nearly a quarter (22%) 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% of buyers, compared to 80% in 2019.

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

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

"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," he said.

eBay Motors Group's 2021 Digital Touchpoints Survey was conducted online in June with 2,000 adults who were sole or joint decision makers when buying a car. Comparisons are with the 2019 Digital Touchpoints Survey which was carried out in October 2019. Both surveys were conducted by Insight Advantage, the independent research company.