More women have headed online to buy cars in recent months than ever before through internet car supermarket BuyaCar.co.uk, accounting for half of all sales for the first time ever.
And deeper analysis shows that women remain significantly more decisive than men, measured by how likely they are to go ahead with an online car purchase. While women typically account for little more than a third of all car sales in the traditional dealer environment, they have always been more proactive on BuyaCar.co.uk, representing 40% of sales on the site over recent years.
But the post-lockdown period of 2020 has seen a surge of women in particular driving record growth for BuyaCar and reaching the symbolic figure of 50% of all sales in July.
Reaching 50% of all sales is even more remarkable when compared with website visits data, which on average shows twice as many men as women browsing BuyaCar.co.uk.
Last year BuyaCar.co.uk reported that women accounted for just 28% of visitors to BuyaCar.co.uk* but were responsible for 40% of all purchases, suggesting that women browse cars with a greater intention to buy than men. This year has seen little change in the gender split for visitors to the BuyaCar site - but sales to women have reached parity with men.
Analysts at BuyaCar are speculating that the recent increase in the proportion of female customers on BuyaCar may be related to greater discipline in avoiding the risk of Covid-19 infection at traditional car showrooms. A number of studies, worldwide, have shown that women are more likely than men to take precautions such as social distancing. For example, the World Health Organisation reported on a Spanish study that revealed women as 'more responsible' than men in their attitudes to Covid-19.** By avoiding the need to visit showrooms and deal with salespeople, while also benefiting from home delivery, the online car buying experience naturally involves less social contact.
Christofer Lloyd, editor of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: "We already know that women have always been less keen than men on the traditional high-stress showroom environment and that women are statistically more likely to buy cars in a no-pressure online environment than from a dealership.
"But it is interesting that a jump in sales to women from 40% to 50% for the first time ever has come during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Our theory is that women may be even more drawn, currently, to the benefits of taking full control of the car-buying process in the safety of their own home at a time when there are still some risks involved in travelling around the country and interacting with sales people in indoor public spaces indoors. When the crisis eventually passes it will be interesting to see if women continue to represent half of our customers or, perhaps, become the majority."