Car buyers habits are changing according to new survey
Car buyers’ habits are changing, with more and more consumers happy to buy completely online, however almost nine-out-of-ten customers (88%) still insist on physically experiencing an unfamiliar model before parting with their cash, according to research from The British Motor Show.
Following this year’s event, visitors to The British Motor Show 2022 were asked a number of questions about their purchasing decisions and what kind of vehicle they were considering next.
Despite the cost-of-living crisis, over 70% of those surveyed said that they were planning on buying, or were considering buying, a new car in the next 12 months.
However, recent increases in the cost of electricity and ongoing uncertainty around price caps have impacted what type of fuel they are most likely to plump for.
As to be expected, there has been a significant drop-off in those looking to diesel as the power source for their next car, with less than 8% expecting to buy a diesel vehicle. However, nearly a third of those surveyed (30%) still expected their vehicle to be pure petrol with more than 40% still unsure about what type of car to buy.
20% of those surveyed by The British Motor Show are committed to making an EV their next vehicle, representing a drop compared to other recent surveys, which have suggested more than 35% of people expected their next car to be electric. Recent changes to the cost of electricity, the removal of the government grant and new road tax charges for EVs are all expected to have affected the change in consumer mood.
However it was the shift in the route to purchase that was of most interest. 56% of those surveyed are now open to buying a vehicle completely online if they were familiar with the model, continuing the shift upwards. However, only 7% said that they would be prepared to buy a new model that they had no experience of, based on images, manufacturer websites or third party reviews.
23% of potential buyers claimed that they would not consider a car unless they had seen it in the metal, with 65% suggesting that they would only consider a new model if they had previous knowledge such as a test drive. This is great news for online used car retailers, who are selling vehicles that consumers will be familiar with, but continues to pose challenges to manufacturers as they launch new models, adding greater value to live test drive opportunities such as those at The British Motor Show.
It’s no surprise that vehicle economy is a significant driver in what vehicle consumers are likely to chose, with over 25% quoting this as the most important factor. However, brand still remains the most important factor when people choose a new car. With only 13% of consumers stating that reliability was their main driver.
Whilst there were some surprising results from the survey, the feedback does not surprise The British Motor Show’s Chief Executive Officer Andy Entwistle. “We saw over 2,000 test drives take place at The British Motor Show in 2022, with our exhibitors reporting over 4500 vehicle enquiry leads taken during the course of the weekend alone,” he said.
“This confirms what we have believed for some time: people are happy to buy online from reputable retailers such as our headline sponsor cinch, but where a new model has been revealed, they are keen to check it out for themselves in the metal, before committing thousands to purchase a vehicle that they could be stuck with for up to five years if it isn’t right for them”
“The British Motor Show is the perfect place to get thousands of bums on seats, where manufacturers and retailers can interact with consumers and show them what fantastic new vehicles they have.”
The British Motor Show returns in 2023 from 17 – 20 August, at Farnborough International. More brands than ever before are already committed to the show. To find out more about the show, book tickets for 2023 or keep up with the latest news, visit