Confidence grows in sight unseen purchases

One in five drivers (21%) have bought a used car without seeing it in person first.

According to AA Cars, just one in 10 drivers had bought a car unseen by March 2021, with eight per cent doing so during the pandemic alone. However, two years on, the proportion of drivers who have bought a car this way has more than doubled to 21%.

The latest survey also shows six per cent of drivers have not bought a car unseen, but would be willing to in the future, although a sizable proportion (73%) say they would never buy a car without first seeing it in person.

Of those who have bought a car without viewing it in person first, 54% bought a used vehicle.

Mark Oakley, director, said: “Car-buying was a very different experience during the pandemic, with many drivers buying a car unseen for the first time. Though lockdown restrictions are now firmly in the rear-view mirror, people’s purchasing habits have continued to evolve.

“With drivers keen to secure the best deal possible on their next used car, the ability to search and purchase from dealerships all over the country can be highly beneficial as prices can vary from region to region. Being able to purchase from further afield can, and does, help people save money.

“It’s clear, however, that there need to be reassurances in place before people part with their money, especially when they haven’t seen the car in person before. The offer of a warranty, and knowing a car can be returned if something did go wrong, or buying through a dealership where vehicles have been independently inspected, will give buyers more confidence and can help dealers secure a sale.”