Global: Buying a car from a physical shop or online – what do consumers prefer?
October 4th, 2022, Janice Fernandes

Global: Buying a car from a physical shop or online – what do consumers prefer?

Car purchasing decisions depend heavily on the touch and feel of the vehicle as much as they do on mechanics and finances. The pandemic moved most sales online, but when it comes to purchasing cars, do consumers today prefer going to physical establishments or logging on to online platforms? In a recent YouGov survey that is exactly what we asked consumers across 18 global markets.

While three in five global consumers would rather buy groceries in-person (60%) than online, more than half of respondents say the same about clothes and vehicles (52% each). Video games (10%), travel services (14%) and insurance (18%) are the products that consumers are least likely to visit a brick-and-mortar store for.

In individual markets, at least a third of consumers are likely to prefer physically checking out a car and buying it.

Canada (62%), highest of all markets, and US (58%) register a majority of consumers who say they prefer buying a car from a physical store. Mexico, however, sees the numbers dip a little – only 42% of its urban population says they would go to a store rather than buy a car online.

More than half of consumers in most European markets prefer going to a car dealership – Sweden (60%), Britain (58%), France (57%). Germany is the only country where slightly fewer consumers (49%) pick cars as a product they’d prefer to buy in-person.

In APAC, purchasing cars online is the route most people prefer taking as less than half of consumers say they prefer buying a car from a store – Hong Kong (33%), Singapore (39%), India (47%), China (47%) and Indonesia (49%). However, Australians are most likely to go to a store to pick up their latest ride (62%).

Over a third of consumers in the UAE (37%) say they would prefer buying their next car from a physical store, significantly lower than consumers in the rest of the markets.

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Methodology: YouGov RealTime Omnibus provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18 and over in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 514 and 2004 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in July 2022. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov RealTime Omnibus.