Monday is still the most popular day to buy a car online, according to the online car supermarket BuyaCar.co.uk - however more drivers now purchase a car from late morning to mid-afternoon.
The shift from late afternoons and evenings as the time customers are most likely to reserve a car and place a deposit coincides with an increase in home-based teleworking during the coronavirus crisis.
Analysts at BuyaCar.co.uk crunched the numbers on the browsing habits of 2020's record number of customers to determine when motorists are most likely to press the button on a purchase.
They found that before the coronavirus lockdown began in March more people bought a car between the hours of 5pm and 6pm - when many workers were winding down for the day - than at any other time.
But that has now changed so that the hours between 11am and 3pm have become the busiest times for sales on BuyaCar.co.uk.
BuyaCar.co.uk believes that the removal of pressure on staff to squeeze personal internet use into official lunch breaks, thanks to record numbers working from home, is key to the trend.
The Office For National Statistics has reported that more people are 'teleworking' in 2020 than at any time since records began in 1998*.
In common with 2016 and 2017 when the data on the 'hottest' moments for online car buying was last analysed, Monday appears to remain the day when most people choose to purchase following a weekend of research, with car buying activity gradually tailing off as the week progresses.
One mystery finding has analysts baffled, however. So far in 2020 the hours between 11pm and 2am from Tuesday into Wednesday are the busiest late night period for online buyers. Perhaps less surprisingly this is followed by the same period late on Saturday night and into Sunday morning. One explanation is that with many more people no longer needing to commute in the morning, customers can afford to spend more time mid-week buying cars late into the night.
Christofer Lloyd, editor of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: "It looks as if people who are able to work from home are probably driving the trend toward more car purchases during working hours.
"Previously there was a clear pattern of car buying activity coinciding most heavily with lunch breaks and the time when people are likely to be wrapping up work for the day.
"We believe that with less need for discretion about mixing internet use for professional and personal purposes, under the watchful eyes of colleagues or managers, it seems that consumers are buying more than ever at the time that suits them."
"What hasn't changed, though, is that many motorists seem to enjoy kick-starting the week by purchasing a car. Many people get to the end of the weekend with a sense of dread, but buying a car seems to have a much more uplifting effect at the start of the week."
*Article Source www.BUYACAR.CO.UK