Buying cars during lockdown: 36% of buyers won’t let it affect their plans

  • Buyers are rapidly moving to more research and online car purchasing
  • More than half will buy their next car as soon as lockdown lifts
  • Buyers are researching more than ever before taking the plunge

Buying a car from the comfort of your own home

More than a third of drivers are pressing ahead with their plans to buy a new car as soon as possible, regardless of the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) national lockdown, which is set to remain in place until at least mid-February.

The new research undertaken by Parkers has been commissioned to investigate car buying behaviour during the UK’s third lockdown. The survey of the site’s users – 92% of whom are actively in the car buying process – is the latest in a series buyers’ attitudes to online car buying and selling during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

As well as revealing 36% of people are now happy to buy right now online, 57% are continuing to research their new car, stating that they will buy their motor as soon as the restrictions are lifted.

Buyers rapidly moving to online purchasing

What’s even more interesting is the speed that attitudes towards online buying are changing. In April 2020, around the time of the start of the first lockdown, only 12% of buyers considered purchasing a new car online, but as of the middle of January 2021, that figure had risen to 27%. Car manufacturers and their dealer groups are racing to keep up with the desires of an increasingly online-centric audience.

The Parkers survey findings also reveal:

>> 47% of buyers find the home delivery option useful
>> 36% of buyers find reserving a car online useful
>> 29% of buyers would choose a click and collect option
>> 27% of buyers would purchase their car online

The shift to online buying has been rapid. In the most recent survey to ask the question, a surprising 11% of Parkers users would happily consider buying a car online and without a test drive. And of those who didn’t, a further 25% would be ‘okay’ with buying a car without test driving it but would prefer to take one if they could.

This backs up Parkers research that also shows an increasing amount of research being undertaken by car buyers before entering into the purchasing process. At the beginning of the first lockdown in 2020, 44% of buyers were using their time at home to research their next purchase. That had risen to 57% (compared 36% who would buy immediately) within January 2021 and is reflected in the rise of traffic to the Parkers free car valuation tool, which has risen by 29.7% according to Google Analytics, from March 2020 to January 2021.

Keith Adams, Parkers editor, said: ‘It’s encouraging to see that so many buyers are embracing the concept of online buying, even when there are tight social restrictions in place. In 2021, more than a third of car buyers have decided that being in lockdown won’t affect their intention to buy at all, suggesting that they’re happy to research, spec and ultimately order a car online.’

Read more

>> Can I buy a car during Lockdown 3?
>> Browse cars for sale on Parkers
>> Car advice on Parkers

Buying online via Smart