Automotive Industry Digest

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2018 saw a “spectacular” increase in online car sales

SPECTACULAR growth in online used car sales at during 2018 underlines a shift towards consumers preferring convenience and transparency over the traditional way of buying cars.

A hike in sales of more than 70% for online motor retail specialist contrasted sharply with 6.8% fewer sales in the conventional ‘bricks and mortar’ dealer market.

Motor retail is now increasingly following a trend that began with Amazon becoming the go-to place for shoppers who prefer the ease of shopping online to visiting the High Street.

Another notable factor in the swing toward online motor retail is that for the third year running growth in online sales to female customers significantly outstripped that for men.

While men still form a majority of’s customers, and the platform takes no special steps to attract women, purchases by women increased during 2018 by 83%, well ahead of the 74.3% increase for men.

It means women are now heading toward representing 50% of the platform’s customers, in contrast to representing about a third of sales in the traditional car market.

According to the latest national figures for overall car ownership, released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders last year, women account for 34% of the market.

In 2018 women formed 42.2% of’s customers – slightly up from 41% in 2017.’s annual results also consistently reveal women and younger buyers in general – up to the age of 40 – as the fastest growing segments of the rapidly expanding internet car market.

Austin Collins, Managing Director of, said: ““Our results continue to reinforce all the consumer research in recent years that consistently shows that the frictionless experience of buying online is a growing preference for car buyers.

“Although we do not specifically target them, women appear to lead the drive toward online car sales and we believe this is because they tend to be less comfortable in the traditional dealer environment than men.

“The advance of technology is also undoubtedly helping to drive this phenomenon. For example, we have been able to offer unparalleled protection from fraud for our customers, thanks to new technological innovation.

“In 2018 one of the best received new features on our site was a facial recognition tool, backed with artificial intelligence, which makes finance applications even more secure. All of these factors contribute to a more convenient and pleasant way of buying cars than consumers have ever previously enjoyed.”

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