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Car buying: How consumer habits have changed

Car buying is always evolving with the process becoming more digital and streamlined in recent years.

The evolution of buying a car over the last few years has changed fairly substantially and for a number of different reasons, some beyond our control.

The coronavirus pandemic has meant a big shift in how consumers purchase items - not just in the automotive industry but in all sectors.

Since Covid-19 first hit back in March 2020 and the UK government introduced lockdowns and social distancing rules, it has made it much more difficult for everyone to continue going about their normal lives.

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Car dealers and showrooms have had to adapt in order to just stay in business and survive, while the popularity - and availability - of electric vehicles (EVs) has also meant manufacturers have had to make some changes to their short and long-term project plans.

Due to the crash of the economy and many people losing their jobs or being placed upon the furlough system, we've seen a sharp decline in new car sales and the used car market becoming more appealing than previous.

Automotive industry struggles

The automotive industry as a whole has had to adjust and make widespread changes in order to continue operation and we are starting to see more people purchase cars again after the lull caused by the pandemic.

The panic-buying of fuel in recent weeks has not aided the industry's attempts to get back on its feet, however, as the high demand has led to more consideration towards EVs.

Online shopping

The pandemic certainly assisted in the number of people using the Internet to search for cars, but even prior to then, the number of cars that were being purchased online rather than in-person drastically increased.

This is as a result of many new and used car dealers being founded and set up as an online-only platform to buy and sell cars, as well as there being several other big positives for buying from the comfort of your own home.

Some of the perks of buying online include:

  • The availability and wide range of vehicles to choose from.
  • The ability to browse at your own pace without being pressured by a car dealer.
  • The ease of just setting up your laptop and doing everything from the comfort of your own home.
  • The option to compare and assess multiple deals from a wide range of websites.

Technology

Cars seem to become more advanced each year and that is certainly something that attracts people when it comes to buying a car.

The increased safety, camera technology, and general digitalisation of features on both the interior and exterior are much more prevalent and this has become a key factor in consumer choice.

It only seems to be getting more advanced too, with autonomous cars being tested around the world, speed limiters being fitted to new EU cars from 2022, and cars that can park themselves becoming fairly commonplace.

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Great car finance options

Younger people who pass their test have many more options when it comes to buying their first car than was available even 10 years ago.

Back in the day, you may inherit a family member's old car or buy an old, used car with high mileage for a low sum of money.

Now with all of the various car finance options and payment plans available, it is much easier for a new (or experienced) driver to buy the newest model of car without having to pay too much money in advance.

Around 85% of new cars are bought using a type of finance plan and that is because it has become much more accessible and people are getting more clarity and insight about credit and loans.

Having the ability to take out a fixed monthly repayment plan, at a cost that fits your needs and budget and the option to terminate the agreement down the line and get a new car if you wish, makes finance a lucrative option for all drivers, not just those looking for their first car.

Here at Car Credible, if you have a car on finance and wish to upgrade into a newer car or feel you are paying too much on your current deal and want to save money, we could help you get out of your current deal.

Click below to discover if you could change your finance deal and get into a newer car.

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