Car shoppers still prefer to buy their vehicles in person over online, despite companies’ push to increase their online capabilities during the pandemic, new research from Deloitte has found.
The global professional services firm has released its 2022 Global Automotive Consumer Survey, which revealed a continued reluctance among consumers to buy their car entirely online or avail of click-and-collect services.
“Although manufacturers and dealerships are working to expand their online and click-and-collect offerings during the pandemic, most consumers would still prefer to purchase a vehicle in person from an authorized dealer,” Deloitte wrote in its annual car report. -purchasing industry.
This despite the fact that online sales are “gaining ground”, he added.
There are regional variations in openness to buying a car online. While in Southeast Asia, Japan and South Africa only 3% of respondents said their preferred way to acquire their next vehicle was entirely online, in India that figure was 10%. .
Among the major global markets, Germany and China each posted 4%, South Korea 5% and the United States 6%.
Focusing on the EMEA region, Deloitte found even greater reluctance, with just 1% of consumers in the Czech Republic saying they wanted to buy their next vehicle completely online, and Austria, Spain, Belgium and France all posting 2%. UK car buyers were a little more open to the virtual drive, with the UK showing 5%.
Where consumers favor virtual shopping, they prefer buying from an authorized reseller rather than a third-party manufacturer or retailer, Deloitte found.
Authorized dealerships were generally the most popular choice for virtual car sales, cited by 63% of respondents in Southeast Asia, and nearly 50% or more in China, India, Korea, Germany and in the USA. Japan – with its iconic automotive industry – was more of an outlier, posting 31%, with 49% saying they would rather buy directly from the manufacturer.
The main driver for buying cars online is convenience, generally followed by ease of use and speed.
Despite the persistence of consumer preference for in-person purchases, Deloitte cites “significant growth potential for virtual sales processes.”
Vehicle subscription services also see a wide variation in popularity by geography. While in China and India, two-thirds or even three-quarters of respondents are somewhat or very interested in a subscription, in Germany, Japan and the United States, the shares drop to around a quarter or a third.
Subscription services focusing on convenience, flexibility and vehicle availability were most popular.
Deloitte’s 2022 study includes more than 26,000 consumer responses from 25 countries around the world.