Nearly half of UAE car buyers do not trust online car retailers
October 21st, 2022, Bhawna Singh

Nearly half of UAE car buyers do not trust online car retailers

YouGov’s Auto Report 2022 shows across the 18 surveyed markets, UAE, India, and Australia have the highest proportion of car buyers who would consider purchasing from an online-only manufacturer such as Tesla. On the other hand, Denmark, Australia, US, and Sweden register the highest proportion of car buyers who would consider buying in-person at a dealership.

The report explores if consumers in 18 international markets are adopting the new digital disruptors by examining their past and future car purchase behaviour and the interest and appetite for electrification in the luxury and premium global auto market.

Thinking about how they plan to purchase their next car, purchasing it in-person at a dealership (42%) or from an owner (31%) appears to be the most popular way among UAE future car buyers. Preference for online is also high with roughly a fifth saying they will buy it online from a manufacturer who sells both online and in-person (20%) or through an online-only platform (17%).

The younger generations in UAE are happy to skip the showroom experience and jump online. Under 34-year-olds are more likely than their older counterparts to consider purchasing their next vehicle online, and their level of enthusiasm for online-only car brands is also evident.

Although there is an intent to buy from online platforms, there is a low level of understanding of online car purchasing options among UAE consumers, with almost half (45%) agreeing that they don’t know enough about online car retailers and manufacturers. Furthermore, there is also a trust challenge to overcome. 46% of UAE consumers agree that they don’t trust online car retailers or manufacturers (with only 15% disagreeing with this statement).

This may be because online options are newer and less familiar, but the online car sector has a challenge ahead to build this trust and consumer confidence across the globe, particularly among younger generations - the future audience for the automotive industry.

When reviewing the factors of importance for future car buyers by purchasing methods, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. However, finding the best price is the number one priority for all global potential car buyers irrelevant of the type of purchasing channel they are considering.

In the UAE, after price, the ability to see or test drive a vehicle, the ability to get a finance arrangement with the same car company are also important. To some, the avoidance of salespeople and price negotiations is also a priority, especially for those considering online purchases, opting for a hassle-free, more simplistic purchasing model.

As global consumers become more open to buying online, brand marketers need to focus on creating more knowledge, communicating the enhanced customer experience and building brand trust to fully convert to the online path to purchase.

Read the full report here.


The insights in this report are drawn from a recent global Custom Research survey uncovering how car purchase behaviour and channels are evolving, the drivers to car purchase and the interest and appetite for electrification in the luxury and premium global auto market. The study covers 18 global markets of more than 19,000 respondents.

Our survey results were further bolstered by connecting research from our syndicated surveys YouGov Global Profiles and BrandIndex. Our survey was fielded the week of 6th to 22nd July 2022.

The YouGov panel provides a naturally accurate and representative view of the population. Data is adjusted using a mild weighting team using interlocking demographic characteristics—methodology considered advanced in the market research space.

Data for UAE was based on a sample of 1,117 respondents representative of the adult population.