Online car-buying penetration in the UAE among this cohort is way above the global average, highlighting their strong affinity towards the digital channel.
Data from YouGov’s “International Automotive Report 2021” reveals 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 is a 17-market study that examines the demographics, behaviors, and preferences of automotive consumers and how digital transformation has changed traditional car ownership and buying behaviors.
To get a baseline of current purchase behavior, we asked our respondents how they made their last car purchase (new or used). Data reveals 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% of respondents globally said their last car purchase was made online (from a dealership or directly from the 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%) and India (31%), consumers in the UAE (29%) are most likely to say they bought their previous vehicle online. These markets greatly outpace the global average (16%) and are far ahead of other developed economies like Europe (12%) and the US (9%) in terms of online car purchases.
Looking at prior online purchases by age cohorts, we find that the younger adults between 25-34 years show the greatest incidence of past online car purchasing as compared to all other age groups in the UAE, APAC, and the US. In fact, the online adoption curve for the 25–34-year cohort in the UAE is higher than the global average of 27%. 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.
When it comes to future car-buying behavior, about three in ten consumers (31%) globally say they will consider buying their next vehicle online through dealership purchases. This is nearly twice as high as the current online purchase incidence (16%), indicating that buyers are more open to taking the digital route in the future.
Among the 31% who say they will consider buying their next vehicle online, less than half (48%) said that they will exclusively shop online. The percentage of respondents saying this is much higher in the UAE, where more than half (56%) 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 key to success thus lies in providing a flexible omnichannel experience to meet the demands of these prospective buyers.
Speaking about the paper, Suzanna Mitrovich, Global Sector Head - Automotive at YouGov, said, “The automotive and mobility sector is going through a period of transformation, accelerated by digitalization enablement. Our report investigates how consumer attitudes have shifted during the pandemic and which categories have changed as a result. It also provides an overview of mobility behaviors, examining what we should expect moving forward in a post-pandemic world.”
Download and read the full report here.