Most buyers are not yet ready to purchase their next car online as the dealership remains a significant element of the buying journey, according to a new study by CitNOW.
Over two thirds (67%) of drivers will still not consider making their next car purchase online, with the forecourt still the most crucial aspect of the car buying journey for most buyers.
The video tech pioneer found that while most (55%) drivers will step onto the forecourt during the car-buying journey, a third (34%) of motorists are considering buying their next car online, resulting in a possible three million vehicles* a year purchased digitally – without buyers having seen the car in the flesh.
According to CitNOW’s study, balancing the online and offline journey will be the key for dealerships looking to attract the modern car buyer.
Carol Fairchild, Commercial Director for CitNOW, commented: “Online buying will never work for everyone as many customers rightly value the dealership experience. Car retailers need to strike a balance; building a tailored digital journey for their online customers while ensuring a personal experience on the forecourt.
“With personalised video and mobile technology becoming the norm, the online research and purchasing process can be as transparent and trustworthy as going to a dealership.”
The research was conducted as part of CitNOW’s ‘Evolution of the Car Buyer’ report launched this week. The image and video specialist for the automotive industry surveyed 1,000 drivers across the UK, examining how car-buying preferences have evolved.
The video technology pioneer also revealed a North-South divide when it comes to adopting online car buying, with drivers in Northern Ireland (53%) and the North-West (42%) of England most likely to buy a car entirely online. Buyers in the East Midlands are least likely to consider a purely digital purchase.
Thanks to the rise of mobile technology and services in the dealership, including personalised video, 360-degree imagery and even live tours, the digital experience is far more transparent, making purchasing online a viable option for all age groups, especially 35-44 year olds (43%).
In contrast, over 55s were least likely to consider purchasing their next vehicle online (25.96%), closely followed by the naturally more digital-savvy 18-24 year old bracket (25.97%).