A fifth of UAE residents would purchase a new car online rather than in a showroom, a study from YouGov found.
Twenty per cent of respondents said they would buy a car online, with 20 per cent of men choosing the option compared to 18 per cent of women, according to the poll of about 1,000 UAE residents in March and early April.
“At present, consumers are doing a lot of car research online and the purchase journey seems to be digitalised," said Ashima Kumar, senior agency sales and account manager, YouGov Mena. "Auto manufacturers and dealers need to leverage this by carefully studying the requirements of prospective buyers, and realign their sales and communication efforts as per the changing preferences of consumers.”
While cars are typically bought in a showroom due to the high cost of the purchase, Tesla said in March it was closing almost all its dealerships as the company aims to persuade customers to buy models online.
About 78 per cent of Tesla’s Model 3 sales were made online last year, with millennials particularly keen to buy products over the internet, according to Bloomberg.
When it comes to used cars, the YouGov poll found 25 per cent of UAE residents were willing to buy online.
Forty-one per cent of consumers would also consider the digital option if there was a great online discount on a new or used car, while 19 per cent would buy online if there was a limited edition car model for sale.
Industry expert Bill Carter, who has 50 years experience in cars, said buyers still need to visit a dealership to do the basic checks.
He said: "These include things like: will the family fit in the car? Will the car fit in the garage? Do I like the way the car drives and handles?"
However, not everyone would consider buying a car on the web; one in six said online is a great tool for research but actually purchasing a new car should be done offline, according to the YouGov study.
The poll also found that at present more than half of UAE residents (55 per cent) intend to buy a car in the next six months. Of these, 64 per cent want a new model while 36 per cent would prefer a second-hand car.
With Ramadan approaching in May, a time when car promotions are in abundance, 30 per cent of respondents said the Holy Month influences their decision to buy a car.
“The upcoming Ramadan season further adds to this demand, by presenting a great opportunity for the price-conscious buyers,” said Mr Kumar.