Dealer Websites Missing Out on £14bn of Offline Used Car Sales

UK car dealers could be missing out on as much as £14bn of used car sales through their websites according to new research which shows nearly one in three adults bought their last car without using the internet.

The online YouGov poll was commissioned last month by the car search engine Carsnip to investigate how the UK’s car buying habits are changing. It found that 30 per cent of people who had previously bought a car said they didn’t use traditional car sites like Autotrader or the last time they bought a car.

With more than 7m used car sales in the UK last year, averaging around £6,500 per sale*, that could mean as many as 2.1m cars were purchased without using online car search sites; leaving a potential £14bn market where car dealer websites are currently missing out.

Alastair Campbell, Carsnip CEO, said:

“The research confirms what we’ve suspected ever since we launched; that for a huge number of people, current online car search simply isn’t good enough.”

“The statistics speak for themselves. A third of people didn’t go online to buy their last car; that’s as many as 14m** UK drivers who might have found the right car faster and easier online if traditional classified advert websites had served them better,” he added.

The poll found that of the 70 per cent of people who did use car search websites the last time they bought a car, nearly a tenth (9 per cent) didn’t find traditional car sites easy to use.

Among over 55s, over 2 in 5 (44 per cent) were disengaged with using online car sales tools for their most recent purchase, the highest among all age groups. For all women this number was a third (33 per cent); a fifth higher than men (27 per cent). Among those who were engaged with these tools when they last purchased a car, more men (7 per cent) found accessing these sites difficult than women (6 per cent).

Results also revealed some large regional and demographic differences across the UK. People in Wales were least likely to have bought a car online (38 per cent), compared to 22 per cent in the East of England where people were the most likely.

A generation gap between young and old also appeared, with more than half of retired people (51 per cent) being disengaged compared to 26 per cent of 18-24 year olds and 21 per cent of full-time workers.

Jim Reid, director of Jim Reid Vehicle Sales, said:

“As an established & reputable used car dealer we have customers from all age groups buying cars from us and agree completely with the poll results. Not everyone is tech savvy and even if they are, most people aren’t ‘car people’ , so searching using the traditional methods can be hard for them.”

“On top of that, not all of the UK’s used car dealer stock is advertised on the two big classified sites due to cost, so customers are often missing out. That’s where Carsnip can help both dealers and customers,” he added.

Carsnip will launch its intelligent search platform at the dealer conference CDX at Silverstone on May 24th.

It recently raised $1m in tech angel investment during its recent funding round ahead of its launch with well-known UK High Street brands this spring. The search engine is on track to raise a further $5m by June.

Carsnip will be presenting The Future of Car Search at CDX16, 24th May, Silverstone. Click here to register.