Premium brands are dominating searches for cars online as buyers continue to choose more expensive cars, the online car supermarket BuyaCar.co.uk has revealed.
The trend of splashing out more than usual on cars, which began as Britain began to unwind its initial coronavirus lockdown measures in June, shows no sign of slowing as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW dominate the searches made by online shoppers.
Average prices paid in August were more than £1,100 higher than the same month last year - significantly ahead of any general rise in market values. This means buyers are continuing to choose to spend more rather than being forced to by the market.
Analysts at BuyaCar.co.uk believe that at least one of the factors driving the change is that many motorists are spending money they saved when lockdown measures cut their normal expenditure on leisure and entertainment away from home.
Drivers are typically changing what they buy by choosing a slightly younger car and/or opting for vehicles with a more upmarket image at the four-year-old point. Whereas the most popular age bracket has long been three years old, there is now unprecedented interest in cars of one year to 18 months, followed by those around four years old.
The average price paid across all segments is now pushing towards £15,000 compared with just over £13,400 a year ago.
But after customers visit BuyaCar.co.uk looking initially for one of the premium German brands they are increasingly tempted to settle on a newer mainstream car. This means that the Vauxhall Corsa shoots up the table from outside the top 10 cars searched to number two among cars sold - behind only the Mercedes-Benz A Class.
It's a far cry from six months ago when average prices paid fell more than £2,000 behind March and April of 2019, as lockdown brought most of the market to a halt.
Christofer Lloyd, editor of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: "We are seeing the most remarkable market in living memory and buyers are clearly determined to splash out a little extra to get a more desirable car. Doubtless the appetite for spending more is helped by the continuing availability of low interest finance which translates a bigger sale price into just a small increase in monthly payments.
"Another factor we are seeing at the moment is renewed interest in a slightly younger vehicle. A few months ago we were seeing cars registered in 2015 forming the lion's share of trade but that has now shifted so that the most popular age brackets are cars registered in 2017 and 2019.
"As the pandemic continues to disrupt many aspects of normal life, it is undoubtedly too early to say that the car market has changed permanently, but for the moment it is certainly very different to what it was a year ago."
*Article Source www. BUYACAR.CO.UK