Despite the increasingly important role played by the internet in the consumer buying journey, physical dealerships remain key, the latest NFDA Consumer Attitude Survey revealed.

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, is pleased to announce the findings of consumer vehicle purchasing patterns in the UK.

The Consumer Attitude Survey was commissioned by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, and executed by Public Knowledge, a leading market research agency. This is the 'Dealer Insight' of the seventh edition of the survey, which polled 2,000 consumers across the UK in a 15-minute online survey.

The NFDA Consumer Attitude Survey revealed that 75% of car purchases, for cars under seven years old, are made at franchised dealers; 14% are made at independent garages; 5% at used car supermarkets and 5% from private sellers. When considering only brand-new cars, 93% of them were bought at franchised dealerships.

The survey found that 50% of consumers visit a car dealership website before purchasing a vehicle. However, surprisingly, 32% of respondents bought a car from a physical franchised dealership without using any dealer, manufacturer or other car sales website before buying the car. Buyers of prestige brands are significantly more likely to visit manufacturer websites, 46%, and research in papers/magazines, 13%, than those buying volume brands, 32% and 8%, respectively.

The findings showed that 63% of consumers intend to purchase their next vehicle from a franchised dealer showroom and 9% from a franchised dealer website.

These findings mirrored the latest figures from research body ICDP which showed that the number of consumer visits to physical dealerships as well as the total number of dealerships visited by consumers in 2019 were higher than the previous years.

The survey has revealed a growing trend towards online retailing but ‘consumers continue to see physical dealerships as an essential element of their buying journey’.

‘With the range of new vehicles coming to the market and their modern, innovative features, consumers are more likely to want to see a car before they buy it. Additionally, consumers place significant value on their interaction with retailers, where they look for advice and reassurance’, said Sue Robinson, NFDA Director. ‘It is encouraging to see that retailers continue to play a key role in informing consumers and helping them find the vehicle that best suits their needs’, she added.

Download here the CAS 2019 Dealer Insight.pdf