The findings from What Car?’s latest industry study showed one-in-10 in-market buyers are set to purchase their next vehicle entirely online. The study analysed whether online purchase attitudes have changed in the six months following showrooms reopening across the UK.

The study, based on feedback from 1,158 in-market buyers found that 10.3% were set to buy their next car entirely online, with 69.3% preferring a mix of online research and direct shopping with dealers. This represents a slight increase from May this year, when 8.9% were set to buy their next car entirely online.

While the growth in popularity of online-only sales has remained steady since the reopening of retailers, more than half of buyers (52%) said they would be comfortable buying their next vehicle online, up from May this year (42%), when What Car? first asked buyers to rate their comfort levels on buying online.

What Car? says this increase can partly be attributed to the ongoing microchip shortage, with 47.1% of respondents from the most recent survey stating that they were now more likely to look at online options due to improved vehicle availability over the Internet.

When asked where buyers think they can get a better deal, 42.0% said they think they can get an equally good deal when buying online or when visiting a dealer. The proportion of customers who thought that one method provided a better chance of a good deal were also split; while 28.0% said they think dealers offer a better discount, 30.0% believed that the best offers could be found online.

The growth of virtual showrooms has also improved the perception of online sales, with 45.8% stating that they would skip a visit to a showroom if they could have a virtual tour of the models they were interested in.