MOTORS research finds consumers now spending over a week longer in car buying process

Buyers are taking over a week longer to research their next car purchase as a result of low consumer confidence and extra time needed to research electric vehicles (EVs), according to independent consumer research commissioned by MOTORS.

The study found the average buyer is spending eight days longer searching for their next car than they were in 2021, rising from 42 to 50 days.

Furthermore, four in 10 active car searchers (42%) expect to spend at least six weeks searching for their next car, rising to almost half (47%) for buyers aged over 45 but dipping to 37% for those aged 25-44.

The 2024 Digital Touchpoints Survey, which polled the views of 3,000 in-market buyers, also identified a variance in search times by fuel type.

Almost half (48%) of potential EV buyers expect to spend at least six weeks in the process, closely followed by 46% of hybrid buyers. Only 39% of ICE buyers expect to spend a similar length of time in the search journey.

“Clearly financial burdens and low consumer confidence are prompting buyers to spend much longer searching for cars, our research also shows how other factors are in play,” said Lucy Tugby, Marketing Director of MOTORS.

“Buyers considering transitioning to EVs and hybrids face a more complex decision making process, as they weigh up the pros and cons of switching – and that all takes time. While last year’s stock shortages also undoubtedly added time to searches.

“All these factors highlight the need for dealers to address the concerns of buyers by providing confidence in transparency, pricing, service and reputation. This needs to flow through their business from the initial advert to the in-store teams.

“With consumers now choosing to use at least four car search websites, it is fundamental that dealers are highly visible online,” said Tugby.