A new nationwide study from YesAuto UK has uncovered how purchasing habits have changed since the start of the pandemic. Compared to March 2020, more than 30% of 1,500 British drivers surveyed would now be happy to research and purchase a car solely online. A further 48% stated they would be happy to do all of their research online but would want to go into a dealership in person to make the final purchase. The results highlight the increasing need for dealers to invest in their online presence and adopt a more hybrid sales and marketing model, with both the online and offline sales journey and customer experience clearly proving vital to convert today’s post-pandemic buyers.
The enforced restrictions on movement, and the rhetoric around social distancing, has certainly affected how the UK feels about owning a private car versus using public transport. A significant 40% of respondents state they’re now more wary of public transport, with more than one in five (22%) saying they are also wary of using car-sharing services, such as Uber and Lyft.
Although the ‘shop now, pay later’ revolution is still growing, with companies such as Klarna announcing another year of substantial growth, the data from YesAuto would suggest that when it comes to purchasing a car, leasing is still catching up in terms of popularity. When asked whether they’d prefer to purchase a car outright or lease their vehicle, 61% of respondents stated they’d opt for outright ownership straightaway, while 37% stated they would look to hire purchase or lease their vehicle.
The wide-ranging survey also explored links between the car someone drives and the type of person they are. Not only are the UK still a nation of drivers who judge people based on the car they drive, with more than half (50%) stating they do, a further third (33%) of people believe it’s possible to tell how confident someone is by their choice of car alone.
Other quirky facts about the self-identified personality traits* of car owners and buyers highlighted details which might prove interesting for dealers as they consider their approach to engaging with prospects. For example, Audi drivers are the most successful on social media, with a quarter (25%) claiming they have more than 1,000 friends and followers across their platforms. Perhaps unsurprisingly, BMW motorists are the fastest on the road, with 38 percent admitting they like to put their foot down when out for a drive. And, Mini drivers are the most cautious on the road, with 60 percent saying their driving style is slow, careful and defensive.
Neil You, General Manager of YesAuto UK, which commissioned the survey, said: “The research clearly highlights how the pandemic has accelerated changing consumer habits, even when it comes to one of life’s big-ticket items. Even though purchasing a car is a significant investment, consumers are confident they can make informed decisions using solely online tools, such as aggregator and dealership websites.
“It also reveals interesting differences in personalities depending on the car you drive. This could help dealers understand their customers’ tastes better, which could be factored into the sales process, from the best online channels to reach them on, to the car features and functionality to focus on or the music to tune into on test drives to set the right mood. For example, pointing out the safety features of a Mini for those careful and cautious drivers could just seal the deal when a customer is considering a purchase. And for those customers looking to buy or upgrade their car but not quite sure which make and model to go for, YesAuto’s innovative technology, including its virtual car showroom opening this September, focusing on providing the best digital and omnichannel experience, allows users to configure the perfect car from the comfort of their sofas, regardless of their tastes and habits.”
*WHAT A CAR MAKE SAYS ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMER
Fiat: you are a party animal
Audi: you’re a social media influencer
BMW: you’re a great lover
Mini: you’re a cautious person
Range Rover: you’re a high earner
Volkswagen: you’re a foodie
Mercedes Benz: you’re a bit of a loudmouth
Vauxhall: you’re a natural comedian
Volvo: you’re an avid reader
Kia: you’re a sensitive soul
Alfa Romeo: you’re a gym bunny