A spike in demand across the north of Britain has seen Manchester, Sheffield and Glasgow overtake London as hotspots for internet car buying, the online car supermarket BuyaCar.co.uk has revealed. While historically demand has most often been concentrated in and around the capital – boosted by London’s concentration of younger ‘internet savvy’ car buyers – the trend appears to be spreading across the rest of Britain.
Analysts at BuyaCar.co.uk tracked car deliveries to customers and visits to the website to measure countrywide differences in buying patterns and enquiries in the early weeks of 2021 compared to the same period last year. During 2020 the top 10 postcode locations – based on sales per thousand residents – were all in London and the neighbouring counties of Kent, Surrey and Essex. But so far this year that pattern has been replaced by a surge in demand as far afield as North Wales, Shropshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, the North West, County Durham and Scotland.
Known as ‘sales per capita’ the measure of demand based on the population of an area reveals that Llandudno in west Wales is now well ahead of the traditionally bigger markets of many London boroughs, while enquiries are surging particularly in Manchester, Sheffield and Glasgow. Compared with the same period last year, enquiries in Manchester so far in 2021 have increased by 15.7%, those in Sheffield are up by 9.5% and in Glasgow by a whopping 22.2%.
Sales to customers in London are unchanged, which means that growth in online car deliveries so far in 2021 is being driven by customers across northern Britain. The findings tally with analysis which also shows that the average age of the online car shopper increased over the preceding 12 months from 24 to 27 years old.
THE `BURBS IS WHERE THE ACTION IS RIGHT NOW
Christofer Lloyd, Editor of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: “We are seeing a very different pattern in sales and enquiries compared to the pre-Covid years, doubtless driven at least partly by changes to the car market caused by anti-coronavirus measures.
“Historically, we always saw deliveries concentrated in and around the capital and across more far-flung rural areas, where physically shopping for cars is less convenient than in urban areas. But that is certainly changing as sales growth is distributed more widely across the north of Britain.
“Another interesting change so far this year, is that the average distance across which we are delivering cars to customers is significantly smaller.
“In the first three weeks of last year the average delivery distance was 243 miles, but that has reduced by 67% this year to 164 miles. We already know that our customers are choosing slightly cheaper vehicles at the moment and we believe that those are typically sourced from outside of London.
“These latest figures continue adding weight to the belief that not only has the coronavirus crisis increased the popularity of ‘click and deliver’ car purchasing, it is also continuing to change the whole shape of the online car market.”