Online car purchase behaviour has changed dramatically during the global pandemic leading to many franchised dealers to switch to ecommerce platforms.
Ecommerce solution provider, GForces, has released a series of key findings obtained through its NetDirector Auto-e digital platform, which show:
- New and used car online purchases made through UK franchised retailers using NetDirector Auto-e – increased by 1228% during 2020
- Over £500m-worth of cars sold using the technology in 2020
- GForces is forecasting UK online car sales via its platform to double during 20
- Average price of used car in the UK purchased online rose 5%
- Online UK car purchases during the first full lockdown months (April and May 2020) more than quadrupled
- Approximately one third of all UK franchised car retailers are now using GForces ecommerce platform, following 290% growth in just two years
Tim Smith, Chief Commercial Officer at GForces, said: ““As with many other industries, COVID-19 has accelerated the shift to online, in a very traditional automotive sales market which was ripe for disruption.
“Customer trust levels when using digital technology are increasing daily, as is their willingness to make large ticket purchases, such as cars, online. Naturally, they have appreciated the ease and simplicity, not to mention the personal safety, that ecommerce brings, particularly in these uncertain COVID-19 times.
“However, what is interesting with the car industry is that we firmly believe there was latent demand there all along. Often the missing key ingredient was the lack of easy-to-use, seamless systems for consumers to interact and transact with.
“The pandemic has been the catalyst for change and we are proud to have supported so many of our customers in adapting to the rapidly evolving automotive retail landscape. Online car buying is no longer just a trend, it is fast becoming the new normal for sourcing your next car.”
The GForces data reveals that the number of cars sold online in 2020 using its technology rose 1228%, increasing from just 2,199 in 2019 to 29,209 last year, worth over £500 million overall.
The figures for pre- and during lockdown also underline the growing importance of ecommerce, particularly for online car sales. Between January and March 2020, the number of new and used cars purchased online using GForces technology averaged 640 transactions per month.
In April and May, the first full lockdown months, the numbers soared, more than quadrupling to 2,675 per month. Once again, the same picture emerged when the UK entered its second lockdown. In November 2020, online sales surged by 33% compared with the previous month.
Other key highlights which emerged during 2020 were:
- Average price of used car in the UK purchased online via its platform rose 5% from £14,983 in 2019 to £15,723 in 2020. Over £2900* higher than offline purchases
- Number of car buyers looking at car model pages globally on GForces NetDirector® Auto-e platform rose from 10.7m in 2019 to 26.8m in 2020
- Mobile device importance continues to grow (up 4% year-on-year). However, desktops still proved the dominant device of online car buying – at 44% during 2020 (up 2% on 2019)
In-keeping with the current pace of online shopping and service delivery growth, GForces is forecasting the number of UK car transactions it will handle throughout 2021 to double – to 58,000, before growing even more to 72,000 in 2022.