Press release

Market Report Consumer Press Release

WE’LL BE BUYING CARS LIKE WE ORDER OUR GROCERIES WITHIN A DECADE

Car retailers will adopt a grocery retail shopping model over the next few years, with Brits researching and buying their cars almost entirely online.

That’s according to Auto Trader, the UK’s largest automotive marketplace for new and used cars. Within a decade, motorists will be able to buy a car as easily as doing their weekly food shop, ordering with just a few clicks of a button.

Like Waitrose, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer, dealerships will still operate physical locations, but they will no longer be used primarily as showrooms or to complete the sales process. Instead, retailers will adopt an Ocado-style retail model, giving shoppers multiple ways to buy their car.

Auto Trader spoke to 2,000 UK motorists about their car buying habits for its latest Market Report, The Future of Car Retailing, published today.

45% of car buyers say that if they were buying a car on finance, they would be happy to do the whole thing online. This rises to nearly two-thirds (64%) of Millennials and Gen Zs - 18 to 34-year olds.

In the past, car buyers typically visited five retailers; these days that has reduced to two, but Auto Trader thinks the direction of travel is clear and in the future many cars will be bought without any visits at all[1].

“The car buying process is frustrating and confusing,” said Nathan Coe, CEO designate of Auto Trader. “There are as many as 28 tasks that buyers need to complete before they get the keys to their new car. A lot of people stop part way through the process while others end up reaching a point of fatigue and buy cars that aren’t right for them.”

In fact, Auto Trader’s research reveals an astonishing 85% of motorists don’t think the car they purchased was their perfect car. The ‘smoke and mirrors’ around pricing confuses buyers; 75% think it’s difficult to work out the final price according to the research conducted for the Report.

“Buying a car may never be the quickest process,” said Nathan Coe, “but technology can improve the process enormously, making it simpler, more intuitive and more transparent.”

A small number of retailers have grasped the digital nettle, not just in the way they market and sell cars but in every aspect of their business including buying and pricing vehicles, and the end-to-end transaction. However, most retailers currently only offer the initial vehicle selection online.

“Dealerships certainly won’t disappear, but they will evolve. Some will become brand experience destinations which give customers an interactive adventure. Others will be specialist logistics and service centres, or high street ‘stores’ where car buyers can ask questions or touch and feel the car they’re interested in.

“Car buying in the future should be more enjoyable, as it will be faster, more transparent and give buyers the choice to shop the way they want - just like when they buy anything else.”

Online sales of cars are expected to pass one million next year, and they will grow to six million globally by 2025 according to a recent Report from Frost and Sullivan. In 2018, the Report said 618,000 cars were sold online, nearly double the number sold digitally in 2017[2].

Read the full Auto Trader Future of Car Retailing Market Report here.

[1] Auto Trader Research September 2019

[2] Frost & Sullivan Report Global Vehicle OEMs’ New Online Retail Strategies, Forecast to 2025

Our CEO Nathan Coe will be live on next week's webinar to answer your questions. You can submit your questions to him in the comments and when you register to join the webinar live at https://t.co/rdtNiD8APu https://t.co/d99VfhPofQ
Last week saw the 89th week of consecutive used car price growth, with prices rising 28.6% year-on-year. With used car prices continuing to rise it’s crucial to keep repricing your stock inline with the market to ensure you aren’t leaving profit on the table. https://t.co/MRHJVoNvzs
2021 was a record year for new electric vehicles on our marketplace which saw a record number of advert views in 2021, with 1 in 5 new car advert views now for an electric vehicle. What EVs do you think we'll see drawing the most attention in 2022? https://t.co/niblnnJaPl
Looking to evolve your business by breaking free of outdated data feeds and enabling your customers to have a real-time view of your digital forecourt? Then check out our ‘Essentials to connected retailing’ masterclass now 👉 https://t.co/VggO5GDvFa https://t.co/hRUW9aXDTf
We’re still faced with an element of uncertainty when it comes to the pandemic which means you need to be prepared for any eventuality. So in this week’s tip of the week, @AndrewKorpela shares some top tips on how to make sure you're prepared for whatever is thrown at you next. https://t.co/9cKawLT6Q9
In his latest update, our CEO Nathan Coe shares our latest market insights, including an analysis of consumer demand and pricing, and reveals our plans for 2022. https://t.co/oyxwpJf2U1
With record numbers of new electric vehicle sales and, as we reveal in our latest blog, an electric vehicle being the fastest selling of any used vehicle in 2021, last year really was a victory for voltage 👇 https://t.co/j4Al3nByBL
In our latest Monthly Market Intelligence Report, we analyse the 3 key trends that came to define the automotive industry in 2021, record demand, the growth in used car prices and the acceleration of EV adoption 👉https://t.co/tVW6vpQjxm Will these trends continue through 2022? https://t.co/rITl15odBm
A quick summary of what we have covered in today's webinar from @ClarkRjoclark. https://t.co/QFgNQYhCR8
Prices then are still strong, but we are still seeing under-priced stock on our marketplace which means there is profit being left on the table. It's key then to monitor the live market prices and re-price to the live market value to avoid missing out on profit. https://t.co/3jGvyFVPIn

Auto Trader Group plc
Registered in England (Company number: 09439967)

Auto Trader Limited
Registered in England and Wales (Company number: 03909628)

Registered address:

1 Tony Wilson Place
Manchester
M15 4FN
VAT number: GB 614 8918 20

Keep in touch

We use social media to speak to the UK’s largest car buying audience