Survey results: Traditional dealerships or online sales to lead market in ten years?

31 August 2018

Survey results: Traditional dealerships or online sales to lead market in ten years?

31 August 2018

The retail landscape is changing with consumers moving online to buy goods rather than visiting the high street. Vehicle manufacturers are looking at new and innovative ways to interact with drivers, enticing them to buy cars in different ways.

Autovista Group wanted to know which method of vehicle sales will be the most popular with consumers in ten years’ time. We asked readers of the Daily News Brief whether they thought that online sales would overtake traditional dealerships, or if ‘pop-up’ stores in shopping centres would help boost sales.

Future automotive sales channels

In a close-run poll, readers felt that traditional dealerships would remain popular, followed by sales of vehicles online. With 36% of respondents choosing the option, many felt that there is no competition for fixed dealer locations, where customers can look around a physical vehicle and chat with a real person when it comes to making a big purchasing decision.

However, with 33% of the vote, many others believed that, just like other areas of retail, online sales would be the future. Manufacturers are increasing looking at utilising online stores while working with dealerships to provide a ‘last mile’ service where consumers can collect their vehicle from and have a quick briefing on the equipment chosen. This means customers can pick and choose their vehicle at their own leisure, build their specification and pay without having to interact with salespeople.

Next in the results with 16% of the vote was the ‘Other’ category. We asked for those choosing this option to include their thoughts in the comments, and the majority of these focused on the introduction of car-sharing schemes by manufacturers taking precedence over sales.

One commenter suggested: ‘You can't discount the part mobility schemes will play, with all the major manufacturers starting projects this is bound to appeal to sub boomers,’ while another added: ‘As soon as vehicles can deliver themselves autonomously then New car sales will diminish and we'll all be booking usage time from a central provider.’

Others felt that rather than dealerships prevailing, multi-brand car shops would lead the way, giving consumers a place to find the perfect vehicle for them without the need to travel around various dealerships. This also gives the opportunity to compare models from different brands in one location.

With 11% of respondents, online sales by a third party came next in the poll. There is talk of Amazon getting into the world of vehicle sales, while others could also jump on the bandwagon, partnering with manufacturers or buying stock to sell themselves. This would give carmakers an instant portal into online sales with ready-established businesses, many of which could already boast a large customer base.

Finally, with 4% of the poll, came pop up stores. These work for passing trade in shopping centres, but with vehicle purchasing a big decision, these offer ease of location but will not simply draw in the casual passer-by.

No respondents to the Autovista Group survey felt that motor show purchases would lead vehicle sales in ten years.