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Majority of car buyers say they want to visit dealerships as part of buying process following Covid-19 restrictions

  • The dealership interaction remains important for 80% of car buyers
  • Only 6% say they will definitely not be visiting dealerships as part of buying process
  • Buyers favour telephone calls with dealers over walk-ins, emails, texts and Live Chat

21 September 2020 Following Covid-19 restrictions, most buyers say they will visit a dealership in person as part of their next car purchase.

Research of in-market buyers, carried out by eBay Motors Group, shows 56% of buyers saying they will "definitely" want to visit a dealership with a further 24% saying they would "probably" visit a dealership. 

Only 6% said they would "definitely not" visit a dealership if they could avoid doing so, while 6% said they would be "reluctant" and 8% were undecided.

The Consumer Insight Panel polled the views of 529 visitors to Motors.co.uk, during August and September, to gauge how Covid-19 considerations were impacting car buying decisions.

Real life interaction with a dealer from the start of the buying process is also paramount among buyers.  After finding a car online, 39% said they would phone a dealer direct, followed by 28% choosing a walk-in at the dealership and then 22% saying they would email first, followed by 6% favouring text messaging and only 4% saying they would use Live Chat first.

"Our research shows just how important personal interaction with dealers is for the majority of car buyers currently considering their next purchase," said Marc Robinson, head of external sales at eBay Motors Group.

"Dealerships across the country have worked hard to reopen and trade as normally as possible, while adhering to the government's rules on social distancing and our research shows that this is meeting a clear consumer need - namely for a physical dealership experience including being able to view cars in the metal on forecourts and discuss purchases face-to-face with dealers in showrooms. We believe those dealers who can be flexible in their approach and combine comprehensive online information and services alongside a reassuring offline experience will be best placed to secure future sales," he said.

"Furthermore, the research indicates that Covid-19 may have heightened consumer expectations as to dealer response times as evidenced by telephone calls being the preferred contact method for 39% of consumers and that 42% of buyers expect a response to an email or texts within an hour."

"We know from our monthly Market View research that in-bound enquiries to dealers are currently tracking at 155% higher than the lowest point of the lockdown back in March, emphasising the need for dealers to have processes and structure in place to manage higher levels of in-coming phone calls and emails from prospective customers," said Robinson.

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  • The dealership interaction remains important for 80% of car buyers
    Only 6% say they will definitely not be visiting dealerships as part of buying process
    Buyers favour telephone calls with dealers over walk-ins, emails, texts and Live ChatThe dealership interaction remains important for 80% of car buyers
  • Only 6% say they will definitely not be visiting dealerships as part of buying process
  • Buyers favour telephone calls with dealers over walk-ins, emails, texts and Live Chat

The dealership interaction remains important for 80% of car buyers

Only 6% say they will definitely not be visiting dealerships as part of buying process
Buyers favour telephone calls with dealers over walk-ins, emails, texts and Live ChatThe dealership interaction remains important for 80% of car buyers

Only 6% say they will definitely not be visiting dealerships as part of buying process
Buyers favour telephone calls with dealers over walk-ins, emails, texts and Live Chat