More than half of those searching for a car use the internet to inform their choice, according to a report by Close Brothers Motor Finance.

The report ‘Britain under the Bonnet’ found that 40% of prospective car buyers searched online using Google, Bing, or Autotrader, 11% used auction websites such as eBay, and 4% made use of social media.

Just 43% turned to their dealer for advice on their next vehicle purchase, while 30% asked friends and family, 17% read motor magazines, and 12% looked in the motor section of newspapers.

Those who went to a dealer for advice spent less time researching before they made a purchase, 21 days, almost half of the 41 days needed by online searchers.

Close Brothers found that 44% of motorists purchased their last car from a new car dealership, compared to 34% who went to a second hand dealer, and 13% to a private seller.

Used car dealerships were more popular among those aged 18-34 years however, with 39% of this age group opting for second hand, versus 34% who used a new dealership.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

The results display a generational divide, as older drivers aged 35-54 years prefer new car dealerships, with 41% opting for them versus 34% choosing second hand.

Over 55s were even less likely to purchase a used car, with just 31% of motorists in this age group using a second-hand dealer, and 54% choosing new.

James Broadhead, chief executive officer of Close Brothers Motor Finance, said the results showed that dealerships still had an important role in consumers’ purchasing choices.

He said: “The way people buy cars is evolving, as the internet is making consumers more conscious of what they want.

“But the research makes it clear that people still look to dealers for advice and support, and there are real opportunities on offer to dealers who have the right insight into what their customers are looking for.”