At least a third of Britain’s private new car buyers visit What Car? before signing on the dotted line

At least a third – and potentially as many as half – of new car buyers consulted What Car?, Britain’s leading online car review, advice and buying channel, before purchasing a vehicle last year.

While around 85,000 users visit What Car? each day, deeper analysis revealed that the site received 324,712 UK users to the price enquiry page on its New Car Buying service in the first and third quarters of 2020* – a clear indication of an imminent purchase decision.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 476,590 private new cars were registered during the two periods. When adjusting down for users visiting the platform via multiple devices, What Car? found that at least 34%, and potentially up to 50%, of Britain’s new car buyers had used its website prior to making a purchase.

What Car?’s New Car Buying service links in-market buyers with registered franchised car dealers and manufacturers, all of whom have committed to sell at its mystery shopped Target Price or below. A user inputs their details in order to start online conversations with dealers bidding for their business.

The strong performance comes at a time when showrooms across the country remain closed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with retailers increasingly interacting with customers online. What Car?’s latest industry research of more than 3300 in-market buyers found 44% would be comfortable buying their next car entirely online, with 88% looking to buy their car after online research.

Rachael Prasher, Managing Director, What Car?, said: “We have long known What Car? is influential in helping car buyers make the right choices, but our investment in the New Car Buying service in recent years has now given us the ability to quantify that. Being able to demonstrate that at least a third of private new car buyers – and potentially as many asl half – are looking at our website prior to purchasing hammers home our influence and leading position in the market.

“As we convert an increasingly large section of our audience to using our New Car Buying service, our data and knowledge around car buying behaviour from the very earliest research stages through to purchase, and then ownership, are becoming ever-more insightful – and, of course, our influence grows accordingly.

“The value of linking high-quality leads to local retailers has never been more valuable than over the past 12 months, and with buyers operating exclusively online at present, having access to leads is critical to the industry’s ongoing health.”

Retailers signed up to New Car Buying are notified when a buyer in their area requests a quote for a vehicle, and can manage the customer’s enquiry via What Car?’s central lead management system. More than 650 retailers across the country, including Ancaster, Ford Retail, Pendragon, Robins & Day, Snows, Vertu Motors, Vindis and Waylands Automotive are currently using What Car?’s New Car Buying lead generation service.

Editor’s Notes

*The Covid-19 crisis caused a significant fall in vehicle sales in Q2, with showrooms shut between March and June, and as such was not an appropriate point of comparison.

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