Transparency and fairness are key for car sales
Record online used car sales in 2018 show that consumers increasingly favour the simplicity, fairness and transparency of an 'Amazon-style' shopping experience over the traditional way of buying cars.
Online used car sales growth is massively outstripping the second-hand sales trend for traditional 'bricks and mortar' dealers.
And now, for the first time, a rise in the number of men preferring not to haggle with a traditional dealer is matching that of women, according to the online motor retail specialists BuyaCar.co.uk.
In recent years BuyaCar.co.uk's growth was driven faster by women. This was no surprise because historically it has been women who typically report feeling less comfortable than men with the traditional trade-in and price haggling process encountered in the standard dealership. But this year has seen male and female customers increasing at the same rate.
BuyaCar.co.uk believes the convenience of buying online is not the only reason for the increase in internet car-purchasing. Consumers increasingly demand transparency and fairness as well as a good product and online shopping platforms have to work harder to build trust with customers who they never meet face-to-face. BuyaCar.co.uk itself recently received a rare award in the motor industry for the fairness with which it treats customers*, who pay the price they first see, representing the best deal available, with no haggling.
This approach means internet sellers are rapidly becoming the biggest names in all forms of retail. Earlier this month Alibaba, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, achieved a world record one-day sales total of £23.6bn.
Another important factor in the growth of online motor retail is the growing number of 'digital natives' – people who have lived with internet access their whole lives – entering the market for cars. The dominant age group who choose to purchase on BuyaCar.co.uk are aged 21 to 30 – who typically outstrip all other age groups added together.
BuyaCar.co.uk's record year to date in 2018 comfortably beats performance in what the industry is describing as a buoyant traditional used car sector, according to figures released this month by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. In the general used car market during July, August and September – Quarter three – sales were down on the same period last year by 2.1%. In contrast BuyaCar.co.uk's sales in Quarter three this year were 53% up compared with the same quarter in 2017.
Austin Collins, managing director of BuyaCar.co.uk, said, 'As the traditional market celebrates a year in which the used market has only fallen by two per cent, continued rapid growth in online buying points to the internet as the future of car motor retail.
'One of the reasons for that is that online retailers must work harder to win the trust of consumers because the transaction doesn't happen face-to-face, which makes real transparency and fairness even more important to retailers like us.
'People are also busier than ever, which makes the old way of visiting lots of dealerships to look at cars and haggle with dealers less attractive than the ability to browse from the comfort of your sofa and know that the price you pay is the best on offer.
'But one of the most striking things we are seeing now is that growth is as fast among men as it is for women. We seem to have reached a point where men value the simplicity of an online transaction as much as women when it comes to buying cars.'