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Car purchased online every nine minutes as UK lockdown delivers dramatic shift in car buying behaviour according to gforces

Car purchased online every nine minutes as UK lockdown delivers dramatic shift in car buying behaviour according to gforces

There was a time when customers used to spend precious hours of their weekends criss-crossing out-of-town retail parks to visit multiple showrooms before buying a car. Then, with the advent of car websites, online evening research became the default. The impact of lockdown and the resultant flexibility of working from home has changed everything. Now the most popular time to buy a vehicle is between 10am and midday, according to data released by industry-leading automotive ecommerce solution provider, gforces.

The findings, obtained through the company’s netdirector® Auto-e digital platform, also reveal many more revealing insights. With over 1,650 UK franchised car retailer sites now using gforces technology, a car is sold every nine minutes as it becomes the new normal, further highlighting the rapid shift to buying, not just browsing, online.

“The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for carmakers and retailers to operate an effective ecommerce strategy. Leading-edge digital technology, designed to complement offline channels is essential to delivering sales success.” Advocates Chief Commercial Officer at gforces Tim Smith.

“While the data provided by our netdirector® Auto-e platform clearly shows the huge acceleration in online car buying, one can be certain that there is much more change to come and that it will come quickly. There has never been a more pressing need for the auto industry to invest in online buying platforms. However, that is not to say that the traditional car showroom is consigned to history. Far from it in fact. They have a critical role to play. Blending ‘bricks and clicks’ as part of an enjoyable, seamless omnichannel consumer experience is the key to the future. With two decades of expertise in this field, gforces is perfectly placed to help automotive sellers meet the exacting requirements of online buyers both today and tomorrow,” he concluded.

Further patterns emerging through the gforces data include the significant increase in home delivery, up 35% between January 2020 and January 2021. Unsurprisingly, deliveries peaked in the lockdown months, particularly in April where it accounted for 14% of all sales alone. British car buyers are also securing cars online from further afield, with the average distance of 80 miles recorded with online transactions, compared to only 35 miles for face-to-face purchases, clearly giving retailers much greater reach. In fact, for some, the appeal of a simple online purchase for a high-quality car is so strong that they are prepared to go even further, with one customer ordering a car to his home in Malta from a UK-based retailer.

Another key trend which emerged during 2020 was the growth of Android and Apple Pay for making online purchases to cover car reservation fees, deposits and outright purchase. These new payment methods have already accounted for £23m of sales since being integrated into the netdirector® Auto-e platform, with gforces forecasting the figure to rise significantly as even more UK retailers embrace its potential.

The ecommerce industry leader in the global automotive sector. Gforces has offices in the UK, Australia, Dubai and Vietnam. The company works with 20 car manufacturers in 65 countries, supporting 6,000 retail locations. In just 24 months, 1,651 UK franchised retailers - approximately one-third of all UK retailer sites - have switched to the gforces ecommerce platform, netdirector® Auto-e.

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