Corona crisis drives online sales in the car trade

Constant changes in customer expectations make online sales solutions in the car dealership more important than ever before - something that car dealers and manufacturers should be doing since the Corona crisis.

The automotive industry is under strong pressure to adapt to digitalisation. Now, COVID-19 has brought additional, previously unknown challenges. This makes it more necessary than ever for the car trade to switch to digital software solutions. Decisions made today will be decisive for several years to come. They will determine who will be the winners and losers in the automotive industry. Only car dealers and car dealership groups that adapt will continue to grow. Those who are not willing to change will fall further and further behind.

The trend in car sales before Corona

Even before Corona, the trend was clearly noticeable. Consumers increasingly went online to search for a car.

  • 92 percent of customers researched vehicles on the Internet even before visiting a dealer. 
  • On average, they spent 8.5 hours gathering information online. 
  • 18 percent say that they would be more likely to buy a car if they could do it online.

Before they entered a car dealership, customers already knew exactly which model they wanted, in which version and what the vehicle should cost approximately. Everything was already prepared. All they had to do was buy. 

public transport scares

A completely new group of consumers has been added. Their demand for a car is due to the fact that they want to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19 in public transport. And then, of course, there are still customers who want to benefit from the new, high-quality offers and the currently particularly attractive financing options and subsidies. These factors are driving the demand for private vehicles.

Despite the general social uncertainty - also due to the closure of some car dealerships - consumers now seem to be ready to enter a buying business again. However, in view of the pronounced consumer preferences for online trading, car dealers and manufacturers should be well prepared to provide the right answers to their customers' requirements with digital e-commerce solutions / software solutions

Now also to the purchase conclusion by click

Only those who can quickly pick up speed online will be among those who manage to do so and get their own business rolling again as demand recovers. Because consumers still have major health concerns, they want to complete the end-to-end shopping process virtually rather than in person. 

Since Corona, 61% of car buyers would buy the car blind. The figures speak for a significant change in the end customer, who now demands significantly more digital steps when buying a car. Online buying is therefore not a nice-to-have feature, but an indispensable element in the customer journey.

Torben Ullmann, CEO & Founder pixelconcept

Before COVID-19, only 32 percent of consumers were willing to buy a vehicle online. Now this has become a majority of 61 percent who would buy a new car even without first seeing it at a car dealership. Since February, with the outbreak of the pandemic, consumer attitudes towards "last mile" activities have also changed: Especially in the last few metres before the final purchase decision, they are increasingly making use of virtual services. 

For example:

Now that this new type of shopper has come to appreciate the convenience of shopping online from the comfort of their own home, it is unlikely that customer preferences will ever be the same as they were before COVID-19. 

Retailers and manufacturers who put their commitment and money into online marketing and put the user experience of their customers first have been able to counteract the losses caused by the pandemic across the industry. They will also be the ones who benefit the most from the gradual recovery of the ailing market. 

Digital retailers will remain or become market leaders

Merchants who closely monitor their customers' online activities are experiencing a 30 percent increase in the likelihood of purchase compared to the time before COVID-19 and two to four times as much traffic to their websites.

Some dealers reacted promptly and replaced the former personal, face-to-face customer contact completely with digital functions such as video chat. In addition to providing constant support for their retailers, the Sales Funnels also invite customers to enjoy short, carefree shopping experiences in a direct way. They also offer additional digital services - such as home delivery and digital signatures

pixelconcept also reports positive figures from the customer base of over 1,500 car dealers. Among them the following:

  • on average over 3-4 hours time saved per transaction
  • 30% higher conversion rate for digital leads, up to 80% for online sales leads
  • 65% of consumers are more likely to buy financing and insurance online

Better sales figures and profit

In terms of sales, car dealerships that invest in online marketing to make sales processes more efficient, transparent and customer-oriented are also in a better position. Their numbers are consistently strong:

  • The sales figures are higher.
  • The total order value is higher on average.
  • The gross profit per vehicle is higher.
  • The probability of selling financing and insurance products is higher. 


Those in the market who have taken the step to a comprehensive online marketing program with a variety of digital tools and options will achieve better results, especially in COVID-19 times. 


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