Research conducted by Carzone, Ireland’s trusted motoring marketplace, reveals that some Irish consumers (25%) are still looking to change their vehicle despite the Covid-19 crisis. The report also finds that car buyers are now more open to using digital tools to help move them along the car buying process while social distancing measures are in place.
The impact of COVID-19 is widespread, and it has presented many challenges for the motoring industry. As a result of social distancing, the process of buying a car has had to change, and this research indicates that this change could be here to last as consumers are willing to use online tools and transaction models to progress their car buying journey.
Since the beginning of this crisis, Carzone have been and continue to survey site visitors and car buyers about the impact COVID-19 is having on their car buying journey. While a quarter (25%) of car buyers say they are still looking to change cars as soon as possible, 64% of respondents say they are delaying the purchase of a car until restrictions are eased and 11% have cancelled their search for a new vehicle.
The research also examines the stage at which respondents are at in the car buying process. Almost half (46%) are in the early research phase, 38% are still looking for the best deal and 16% are ready to purchase a car. This data shows that car buyers are continuing to research their options, and advertising vehicles online can still be effective. Buyers can digitally shop around and research their options despite current restrictions.
The study also found that car buyers are more open to using digital tools as a means of research while social distancing is in place. Just under half (49%) of respondents say a virtual video tour of a vehicle would be very useful, and 21% say they would avail of live chat tools with dealers to help progress the process. Other useful services car buyers’ reference are online car finance applications (17%) and a straightforward call with a dealer (13%). With all of this to assist, 30% of respondents say they would reserve a car now to collect it when restrictions are lifted.
While it is clear that COVID-19 has resulted in car buyer’s openness to using online services more than ever before, it has become apparent that seller behaviour has also changed. Since mid-March, 2,500 additional video car tours have been added to Carzone by dealers and there has been a substantial increase in both site visitors and dealers using live chat functions on Carzone.
Although equally effected by the pandemic, Carzone has put in place measures to support its dealer network and the wider industry during these unprecedented circumstances. These measures are as follows:
- Carzone will not charge dealers for their core advertising packages during the month of April and this support will continue into May
- Dealers can defer payment of their March advertising costs by 30 days
- Dealers will receive an immediate upgrade on advertising packages with no additional charge until June 1st.
- The Carzone dealer finance product will be available free of charge until September 1st for dealers.
Commenting on the findings, Karl Connolly, Audience Manager at Carzone said: “The COVID-19 crisis has meant consumers are changing their behaviour to adapt to this situation and car buyers have become more open to using online services as a means to research their next car. We have also observed a change in the way sellers are using the platform to advertise their cars. As well as an increase in the number of video car tours uploaded on the site, we found dealers and their potential customers are communicating more than before using our live chat functions. It’s great to see that consumers are still researching cars and engaging with dealers on Carzone.”
Carzone - 28-Apr-2020