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Lockdowns prompt 76% of car buyers to increase use of multiple car search websites for next purchase, finds eBay Motors Group research

  • Buyers now more likely to use multiple car search sites than before pandemic
  • Three-quarters spending more time visiting or visiting more often
  • 87% say different platforms help them narrow their search

26 January 2021: Over three-quarters of car buyers say they are now more likely to use multiple car search websites than before the pandemic, according to new research by eBay Motors Group.

With dealers across the UK once again forced to close showrooms and forecourts, 76% of buyers say they are using more vehicle search sites for their next purchase, with 74% saying they are spending more time visiting them than before.

The research of visitors to Motors.co.uk was conducted over the course of December 2020 when national and regional Covid lockdowns and restrictions were in force throughout the UK.

The majority of buyers (87%) said visiting multiple websites enabled them to narrow down their research to identify the vehicle they wanted to enquire about. While 84% said visiting different platforms enabled them to make an informed decision on the price they should expect to pay.

Most buyers (82%) said visiting multiple car search websites ensured they were able to see all the available cars in their vicinity. Also, by visiting different platforms nearly three-quarters (74%) said it helped them decide which questions they wanted to ask dealers about the cars they were searching.

"With customers once again not allowed to visit showrooms in person, consumers are turning to more online vehicle search sites and investing more time than before the pandemic, using them to research their next purchase," said Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group.

"This evolving approach to car buying means retailers who advertise their stock across multiple platforms are likely to capture the attention of more in-market buyers. The research shows buyers want clarity on pricing and the comfort of knowing they are able to see all the available cars in their local area.

"Our advice to dealers has always been to advertise across multiple car search touchpoints to achieve the highest levels of visibility and engagement. With lockdowns now in place across the UK, this needs to be a prime consideration for all dealers," said Kelleher.

Data source: eBay Motors Group Consumer Sentiment Survey. Onsite survey on Motors.co.uk over the course of December 2020. Sample size: 285 respondents.