Quarter of buyers will spend longer searching for next car due to rising prices and affordability, finds eBay Motors Group

Concerns over affordability will prompt more than a quarter (27%) of car buyers to spend longer searching for their next vehicle, according to eBay Motors Group’s latest Consumer Insight Panel research.

The main reasons these buyers cite for expecting to invest more time searching are rising car prices, (44%), the need to assess running costs (34%) and a willingness to search online for the best possible deal (34%).

Also, as buyers consider electric alternatives, changing the fuel type of their next vehicle has become a consideration requiring extra time for more than a quarter (28%).

Despite these broader concerns, the research shows buyers expect to spend an average of 42 days searching for their next car, unchanged since June 2021.

Women buyers average just 38 days searching, compared to men at 46 days. While those looking to purchase new expect to spend 45 days searching, compared to 40 days for used.

With long lead times still affecting the supply of some new models, the research also found four in 10 buyers (44%) are prepared to wait until the car they want becomes available.

However, nearly two-thirds (64%) will consider used alternatives, although the preference for sub two-year-old nearly new cars is much stronger (48%) than for cars over two-years-old (16%).

“Our research reveals how pressure on consumer spending means a significant number of buyers will spend longer in the market searching for their next car as they carefully consider their options,” said Lucy Tugby, Marketing Director of eBay Motors Group.

“With buyers still spending an average of six weeks searching for their next car, it’s important that sales staff appreciate how hard they have already worked and support them in the later stages when leads turn into showroom visits.

“Furthermore, with some makes and models still facing long delays and nearly new alternatives in short supply, dealers have an opportunity of opening up conversations with some new car buyers about suitable alternatives from their used car inventories,” said Tugby.

eBay Motors Group’s Consumer Insight Panel survey, independently researched by Insight Advantage, polled the views of 2,000 car buyers in March.