Google’s ‘Car Purchasing Process UK’ report suggests that in April 2017, 71% of the UK adult population are car owners, with nearly half (47%) of vehicles purchased within the last two years. British natives enjoy keeping up to date, whether it’s our phones, laptops and clothing or our cars and homes, Brits like to renew their assets so that they have the best model available on the market. This trend ties in with how many vehicles had been purchased within the last two years. Many car owners like to upgrade their vehicles for a newer model to stay up to date with the technology and generally remain on-trend. It’s a buying trend that is mirrored across many industries.
According to the report, over half of adults (53%) say that they plan to buy a car within the next three years. Of those adults, 20% said they hope to buy a new car in the next six months, 26% said between the next seven and 11 months, and a further 35% said between one and two years’ time.
Furthermore, the study conducted by Google reveals that 48% of those who plan to buy a vehicle in the next three years said they would plan to buy a new car, however, 37% disclosed that they would prefer a used car. But what had the biggest influence on our purchasing practices when it comes to vehicles – and how do we fund these practices? In this article, Motorparks Citroen Manchester investigates the trends.
How Brits search for vehicles
The car industry is populated with several different channels in which we can search for the perfect car. Whether you’d rather go to an independent dealer, a comparison website or a private seller, the car industry is constantly trying to discover ways of getting car buyers to purchase their vehicle through them. And the market is progressing. The dealership still appears to be at the heart of British car-buying habits, with the average auto buyer visiting the dealership 2.1 times, and having 1.3 test drives before making their purchase.
But purchasing trends are evolving as the online market continues to grow, which as a result is also affecting main franchise and manufacturing companies. Over a third (36%) of those looking to buy a car online in the coming years would choose an independent site. Manufacturer websites are only just falling behind, with 33% choosing main manufacturers.
Car buyers are gradually beginning to do their research for their new car on digital platforms – which could be one of the reasons why independent websites have now become more popular than official manufacturer websites. When starting the car purchasing process, 51% of buyers now do their research online, 32% also use their smartphones to discover ‘which car is best?’
Digital has transformed the way buyers do their research before purchasing, and in some cases, has completely transformed how they buy a car – with 54% of buyers considering buying online either now or in the future. However, as it stands, the majority of purchasing (96%) still happens in-store.
How Brits pay for vehicles
The most popular way that brits afford the payment for a purchase such as a car is through using personal savings. the Google ‘Car Purchasing Process UK’ report revealed that of those looking to purchase a car in the next few years, 59% said they would use their savings! Part exchange took second place, with 37% saying their part exchange would help fund their new vehicle. Many find themselves using the capital in their current car to provide a good deposit for their upgrade, subtracting the amount from the value of the new vehicle.
The report also reveals that Hire Purchase (HP) and Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) agreements are the most popular finance contracts when purchasing a new vehicle. 13% of buyers said they would think about HP and 10% said they would consider PCP. Lease Purchase and Contract Hire only account for 6% of the market each. So, what makes HP and PCP more attractive to car buyers?
Finance contracts often make purchasing a vehicle more affordable, the fixed monthly payments across an agreed period with the option to purchase at the end is an attractive offer to those who do not want to part with a substantial amount of cash in one go.
Whilst analysing the methods of buying a new car, the Google ‘Car Purchasing Process UK’ report reveals further figures that prove the interest in finance options for car purchasing. Owners of new cars purchased in the last two years, as well as those planning to buy new in the coming three years, show strong interest in the use of PCP, PCH and lease purchase. Around a fifth, (21%) of those who have bought new in the last two years would use PCP to pay for their next car, while 16% who plan to buy new in the next three years would use PCP.
Influences on the final decision
According to Google’s ‘The Drive to Decide’ report, in association with TNS, the biggest trigger to brits buying a new vehicle is lifestyle changes. Also disclosed in the report, 28% of respondents said that they buy a new car due to their financial situation improving and 12% because they had a new job. Furthermore, 11% purchase a car as their family is expanding, 7% due to moving into a new residence and 5% due to health or age-related reasons.
But that’s not to say that practical reasons don’t sometimes influence our car buying decisions too. In fact, the report also revealed that decisions have been heavily influenced by new offers, vehicle launches and desires. 41% choose to buy a new car because they ‘need one’, 35% because they just wanted a new vehicle, 24% due to wanting better fuel efficiency, 20% because they notice a good offer or promotion and a further 11% as a result of a brand-new vehicle launch.
It’s easy for British buyers to find themselves in a cycle of replacement. The report by Google unveiled that vehicle owners who purchased their new vehicle more than two years ago are the sector most likely to buy a replacement in the near future, with the reason being that typical car warranties running out after three years.
Are you currently on the hunt for a new vehicle? Which factors most likely to influence your choice? This topical certainly provides some interesting discussions for buyers and players in the industry alike.
Image source: Pexels