With dealerships forced to close during national lockdowns, consumers have been turning to online sales in impressive numbers.
For example, online automotive commerce provider GForces says a car is being sold every nine minutes through its platform, which is used by over 1,650 car dealers in the UK.
To give some perspective to this number, the company says home delivery was up 35 per cent in January 2021 compared with January 2020.
Customers are also receiving deliveries from further afield, with online buyers getting cars delivered an average of 80 miles, compared with 35 miles for face-to-face buyers. GForces reports one extreme case where a buyer in the Mediteranean island of Malta bought a car online from a UK retailer.
Interestingly, flexible home working has seen online car buying shift from evenings to weekdays between 10am and midday.
Tim Smith, chief commercial officer at GForces, said: “The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need for carmakers and retailers to operate an effective ecommerce strategy.
“Leading-edge digital technology, designed to complement offline channels is essential to delivering sales success.
“While the data provided by our platform clearly shows the huge acceleration in online car buying, one can be certain that there is much more change to come and that it will come quickly.”
GForces has also reported that the boom in online buying has also seen a growth in the use of Android and Apple Pay, with buyers using these services to cover reservation fees, deposits and even outright purchases. GForces has taken a total of £23 million from these services.
Smith added that despite the data, physical dealer locations are still importing. He said: “There has never been a more pressing need for the auto industry to invest in online buying platforms. However, that is not to say that the traditional car showroom is consigned to history. Far from it in fact. They have a critical role to play.
“Blending ‘bricks and clicks’ as part of an enjoyable, seamless omnichannel consumer experience is the key to the future.”