Customer habits dramatically changed by Covid

Consumer behaviour changed radically during 2020, with a huge shift online and between brands.

New research carried out by BuyaCar also found that buyers were prepared to pay more for used cars, with prices fluctuating greatly but consistently trending upwards, and the online market is maturing as older drivers have opted for remote purchasing solutions.

It found the average age of customers buying a car online rose from 24 to 27, with women driving the lion’s share of growth in internet car sales.

Many of the changes seen in 2020 were linked to the Covid-19 crisis, which made all online suppliers of goods and services the go-to choice for consumers, as movement restrictions and other health measures interrupted normal shopping. As a result, BuyaCar.co.uk itself saw a 25% increase in visitors, reaching 9.8 million people over the course of 2020.

Christofer Lloyd, editor of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: “2020 was an unpredictable year for most of us, disrupting the car market in new ways and clearly driving customers online like never before. Customers decided to spend more on their cars, often by choosing slightly older and more prestigious cars, which was a phenomenon we began to see especially in the wake of the first countrywide lockdown.

“Brand loyalties also showed signs of changing as more people than ever before decided to opt for German models, which often edged out more traditional choices – especially among younger customers.

“As we begin another year, with a vaccination programme hopefully starting to bring the end of the pandemic’s worst effects into view over the next few months, it would be a brave person who predicted used car trends this year. The only forecast we can make with any confidence is that buying cars online will come ever closer to the mainstream choice for many car buyers, based on the performance of BuyaCar.co.uk over the past 12 months.”