One third of car sales could happen online, a survey finds

More than one in three used car and van purchases could take place entirely online, according to research conducted by iVendi.

iVendi, which develops e-commerce products, found that 35 per cent of 12,500 motor finance transactions were sold without any need for contact with a car dealer when no part exchange was needed, and when sold at the windscreen price and using the dealer’s online finance.

According to the results of the study, one in 20 used car purchases were completed entirely online already, with no email, phone or physical contact taking place until the final step of the process when the vehicle was collected or delivered.

The development of technology designed for the car dealer industry, as well as the increasing emphasis on the use of websites in the sector, has resulted in a rise in the number of consumers willing to purchase their used cars and vans over the internet. Car Dealers should ensure they’re ready to embrace this change by regularly updating their motor trade insurance policy, which will ensure financial and legal protection no matter how buying habits change.

Commenting on the results of the study, iVendi chief executive James Tew suggested that there is still some debate among industry experts about how many genuine used car purchases are actually taking place online in the UK. However, he added that the new research is helping to shed some light on how habits are changing.

“Out of our sizeable sample of used car sales, we can see that already a number of customers are effectively completing the entire used car journey online and that many more could potentially do so,” he said. “These people are finding their own vehicle, they are not haggling and they don’t have a part-exchange. They are perhaps the easiest customers that a dealer could have – it is simply a matter of perhaps arranging a test drive and collection or delivery of the vehicle.”

Mr Tew added that the only part of the process that cannot take place online is the physical viewing of the car, which he suggests can be approached on a trust basis until the customer is able to make a final assessment before the purchase is complete.