Young drivers least likely to research a car online before buying

news release

Young drivers least likely to research a car online before buying

Three out of four car purchases are made through manufacturer/independent dealerships

Nottingham, UK, 12 September 2014 — Drivers aged between 18 to 24 are the least likely to use the internet as the first source of information before buying a car, according to new research from Experian, the global information services company.  Only one third of younger car buyers would surf the internet for information, preferring instead to consult friends and family or talk to a dealership sales person first.

More than 1000 UK drivers were surveyed to understand where they bought their car from and why.  An overwhelming majority, (74%), made their big ticket car purchases through dealerships (both manufacturer and independent).  One in ten people purchased their current car from a private seller and only one in twenty bought their last car from a car supermarket.

The survey revealed that car buyers preferred to go to a dealership because they felt it was less risky (24 per cent), but more importantly, they could go back to the dealer if there were any problems with the car (46 per cent).  Twenty per cent felt that dealerships offered better knowledge of the market and the vehicles.

Andrew Ballard, Principal Consultant for Experian’s Automotive business, said:

“Our research shows that the vast majority of those who bought from a dealer in the past would go back to a dealer for their future purchase. Clearly reputation and trust have a key role to play and the steps taken over the years by many motor retailers to build that trust are paying off.  These dealers have also taken steps to recognise and understand not only who their customers are, but what they need, so they can provide them with information relevant for their needs.

“For young car buyers, who are more likely to take out finance but less likely to carry out online research, it is vital that they do their homework before a major purchase like a car. This includes checking that the dealer has undertaken all the necessary vehicle history checks, especially important for older models. Comparing finance deals online can also help save vital cash, as can reviewing your credit history before making an application.”

Like many significant purchases today, the most important factor when buying a car continued to be price (48 per cent).   For 27 per cent, make and model played the biggest role in their decision while the size and features of the car were the most important factors to consider for 13 per cent of car buyers. 

Buying privately

Buying privately is more prominent in the 25 to 34 age group, with nearly a quarter of this age group going through this channel. Those aged 55 and over are least likely to buy from a private seller (6 per cent), but most likely to walk into a dealership (80 per cent ). Leasing (1.4 per cent) and company car schemes (1 per cent) were the least popular acquisition channels.


When initially looking to replace a car, the internet is the first port of call for over half the respondents when researching and sourcing information. Friends and family are the second most trusted sources of initial information (21 per cent). For 18 per cent, talking to a dealership sales person is the primary stage of research.

Regional differences

Yorkshire and the South West are the most likely to use the internet first for research and both areas are the least likely to use motoring magazines for car reviews.  In London and the South West, information from friends and family resonated with only 6 per cent of car buyers.

Dealership sales people seem to be more trusted in the North East, with over a quarter of the respondents in this area going to them first for car research.

The survey also revealed that only 5 per cent of car buyers would take a car for a test drive before they bought it and this was most likely among drivers in the North West, with 8 per cent saying they never test drive a car before they purchase.


Note to Editors
The results are based on a consumer poll of 1,105 car owners aged between 18 and over across the UK. The survey was carried out June to July 2014 by independent research and insight company, Opinion Matters. 

Miss Serj Heera
Head of PR
Telephone: 0115 992 2773
Email :

About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2014, was US$4.8 billion. Experian employs approximately 16,000 people in 39 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

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