Sales of cars sold entirely online on behalf of dealers rose by 41% to reach a record level in 2016, according to BuyaCar.co.uk.

The online motor retailer predicted that pressure on new car sales in 2017 would lead to an increase in the proportion of online sales through third parties.

BuyaCar.co.uk said the biggest surges came during the usual periods of heavy new car activity, but overall, online sales were consistently higher than 2015’s levels during the year.

Used cars accounted for approximately 90% of BuyaCar.co.uk’s sales total for the year.

They also expected that economic uncertainty and inflationary pressures would boost online engagement from dealers, as they seek customers from further afield, adding that average delivery distance for their cars in 2016 was 150 miles.

Austin Collins, managing director of BuyaCar.co.uk said: “Dealers are expected to feel the pressure this year as car price inflation forces them to work harder for sales.

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By GlobalData

“The SMMT themselves have confirmed that the new car market could move back by five or six percent this year, but that will probably likely lead to further growth in online sales as dealers look to win sales from further afield.