Young adults in UAE are more likely than others to buy a car online: Survey

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on October 4, 2021

(Alamy file)

YouGov report examines how digital transformation has changed traditional car ownership, buying behaviours.

Online car buying penetration in the UAE among the young people is way above the global average, highlighting their strong affinity towards the digital channel.

A YouGov survey has revealed that young adults in the UAE, between 25-34 years show the greatest incidence of past online car purchasing as compared to all other age groups.

YouGov’s International Automotive Report 2021 examines the demographics, behaviours, and preferences of automotive consumers and how digital transformation has changed traditional car ownership and buying behaviours.

To get a baseline of current purchase behaviour, YouGov asked its respondents how they made their last car purchase (new or used).

Data revealed that the traditional path of buying, in person from a dealership, was the majority approach, comprising nearly three in five of respondents’ most recent global auto purchases. Only 16 per cent of respondents globally said their last car purchase was made online (from a dealership or directly from owner).

Despite in-person dealerships playing a critical role in the car buying process globally, some markets have shown a greater appetite for online car buying.

After China (35 per cent) and India (31 per cent), consumers in UAE (29 per cent) are most likely to say they bought their previous vehicle online. These markets greatly outpace the global average (16 per cent) and are far head of other developed economies like Europe (12 per cent) and the US (9 per cent) in terms of online car purchases.

It is not surprising to see higher online adoption among these buyers as they are digital natives and tend to be more engaged in e-commerce.

Future car buying

When it comes to future car buying behaviour, about three in ten consumers (31 per cent) globally say they will consider buying their next vehicle online through dealership purchases. This is nearly twice as high as current online purchase incidence (16 per cent), indicating that buyers are more open to taking the digital route in the future.

Among the 31 per cent who say they will consider buying their next vehicle online, less than half (48 per cent) said that they will exclusively shop online.

The percentage of respondents saying this is much higher in the UAE, where more than half (56 per cent) say they will exclusively shop online in the future, indicating a need for seamlessly connected in-person and digital experiences across the path to purchase.

“The automotive and mobility sector is going through a period of transformation, accelerated by digitalization enablement,” said Suzanna Mitrovich, global sector head for automotive at YouGov.

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