Press release

Selling online unlocks bigger market for retailers as the distance between buyer and seller increases significantly

The latest data from Auto Trader has revealed the distance consumers are prepared to buy or receive their next car from has increased significantly over the course of the pandemic, highlighting the significant market opportunities for retailers who are embracing online retailing. With growing consumer confidence in buying online, this trend is only set to continue.

Prior to COVID-19[1] the average distance between buyer and seller was circa 40 miles. However, the restrictions and the subsequent acceleration in digital retailing trends has driven a change in consumer behaviour. During the latest national lockdowns when physical forecourts were closed, the average distance spiked to 60 miles. Although this has dipped slightly since the reopening of physical showrooms in April to circa 50 miles[2], it marks a 25% increase on the pre-pandemic average.

With more retailers adapting to the changing expectations of car buyers, such as offering money back guarantees and extended warranties, car buyers are becoming increasingly comfortable with buying from further afield. In fact, research conducted by Auto Trader revealed that nearly two thirds (62%) would be open to buying a car without a test drive if they were offered a 14-day money back guarantee.

The propensity for long distance buying and the opportunity it presents was further highlighted by separate research conducted in May. It revealed that 46% of consumers are currently willing to buy from a retailer based over 50 miles away. More than one in five (21%) were prepared to buy up to 100 miles from their home, 10% up to 200 miles, and 16% over 200 miles.

 Commenting on the findings, Auto Trader’s director of commercial products, Karolina Edwards-Smajda, said: As online retailing becomes ever more prevalent and consumer confidence grows, the geographical distance between buyers and sellers is set to become less relevant. It represents a huge opportunity for retailers who can reach beyond their local market, whether that’s through click and collect or home delivery. Embracing these services means all retailers can compete with the online entrants who operate nationwide and invest heavily in national marketing campaigns. We’re committed to supporting our retailer partners in their digital retailing ambitions and providing them with the tools and expertise they need to capitalise on changing consumer demands.”

As part of this commitment, Auto Trader is set to roll out a suite of online retailing products throughout H2 2021, including a market extension tool designed to extend retailer’s reach into additional geographical regions to target new customers.

[1] 2019 average

[2] As of April 2021

We've extended the deadline to complete our digital retailing survey being run in partnership with the @RMI_NFDA and ICDP. Complete the survey before Friday to receive a personalised benchmark report👉https://t.co/qjQqIedy43 https://t.co/N3CLR386Uz
Join our next webinar where we’ll be sharing how you can sell vehicles at pace, whilst extracting the most profit and ensuring you allow time to restock and optimise your forecourt. Register now👉https://t.co/5dI2g8GX3Z https://t.co/ZOfgM21yU7
What do Canadian Thanksgiving and @AndrewKorpela's appetite have to do with buying a car online? Find out in this week's tip of the week where we share some tips on how to grab the attention of a growing buyer segment. https://t.co/Eilwe3LhXm
The speed at which used cars sell continues to remain far below what we saw before the pandemic, with last months analysis showing that it took a median of just 24 days for used cars to sell, 3 days quicker than in August. https://t.co/nl83T3y2Wl
Fantastic news 🥳 A huge thank you to everyone that voted for us this year - we're very proud and delighted that our retailer partners have gotten so much value from our platform, particularity during such a challenging period for our industry https://t.co/0xXHDcYemG
COP26 has been dominating headlines over the last few weeks. But what exactly is it? What impact could it have on the automotive industry and why does it matter to you? https://t.co/nGyGxeZvzN
Find out how @HendyGroup, @LookersGroup, @westwaynissan and @PeterVardy are embracing the electric vehicle revolution and enticing consumers into making the switch👉https://t.co/o9S11O5QXS https://t.co/KU8wBqwOXH
In our latest market update, we share our latest audience data and look at whether we are continuing to see strong levels of demand from consumers. https://t.co/p2DSkN8cAv
It's Friday which can only mean 1 thing. It's tip of the week time! In this episode, @AndrewKorpela goes through the findings of the telephone phase of our mystery shopping and explains how you can make the most from a telephone enquiry. https://t.co/Mg0UtWa3aM
September was a month of records for the automotive industry. But we also saw some unexpected challenges and opportunities. Find out more in our latest Market Intelligence report which details our latest insights along with the impact of the fuel crisis👉https://t.co/blOWIg8ZY7 https://t.co/v7SZuYcRM4

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