Three-quarters of future buyers searching before showrooms open

Potential buyers are already searching for deals on their next car.

Nearly three-quarters of in-market buyers looking to buy within the next three months have started their search, while a third of these motorists have already contacted retailers about a vehicle, according to the latest research from What Car?.

The results – part of What Car?’s latest weekly industry study of 2,758 in-market buyers – found 41.4% of customers are looking to buy between now and the end of June, suggesting demand is once more on the rise.

Of those looking to buy within the next three months, 72.4% said they had already started researching deals on their next car, while 32.7% have contacted a dealer about a car they are interested in.

What Car?’s research in March also reveals buyers are looking forward to taking test drives, in particular those after a new electric vehicle. The research of 1,029 in-market buyers found 59.7% of EV buyers were unwilling to buy an electric car without taking a test drive. In contrast, only 46.0% of petrol and diesel buyers regard a test drive as essential.

What Car? also found that the pandemic has changed buyers’ attitudes to additional policies such as service packs and extended warranties in order to help spread out the costs of ownership.

It’s research found, 29.1% of buyers are now more likely to buy a service plan, with 19.3% more likely to buy an extended warranty than before the pandemic.

Even policies for wheel and tyre insurance and GAP protection saw a rise, with 4.5% now more likely to purchase wheel and tyre cover and 9.4% looking to protect their purchase with GAP insurance.

Rachael Prasher, managing director, What Car?, said: “With less than two weeks before showrooms reopen, we’re seeing clear signs that buyers are increasing their activity in the market. From researching the latest deals to contacting retailers about vehicles and arranging test drives, this is the time retailers can lay the groundwork so they are in best position to take advantage of the demand that’s been building up over recent weeks, when the showroom doors finally open.

“This means having adequate stock, actively engaging live leads and ensuring staff are fully up to date on the latest models and aftermarket offers available.”


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