Over Three-Quarters of British Car Buyers Report Getting a Good Deal Despite Used Prices Remaining 37% Above Pre-Pandemic Levels

  • The latest UK Consumer Insights Survey from CarGurus found that despite the average price of a used car being £19,254 - 37% higher than pre-pandemic levels - only 1% of buyers felt they got a less than fair deal
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of buyers reported getting a great deal while an additional 56% felt they got a good deal on their used car purchase
  • Leading reasons cited for buyer satisfaction included ease of process, inclusion of additional benefits, and price compared to budget
  • Generation Z respondents (ages 18-25), were three times more likely than Boomers (ages 57 - 65) to choose safety as a key purchase factor (15% vs. 5%), as well as integration of the latest technology (16% compared to 6%)
  • UK motorists’ typical length of car ownership is four years, with need-based purchases down 6% year-over-year to 60% in 2023
  • CarGurus shares guide to help shoppers prepare to buy a car

Over three-quarters (80%) of Brits say they got a good or great deal on their used car purchase despite continued elevated pricing, with the average used car listing price of £19,254 hovering 37% above pre-pandemic levels.

The survey of over 1,500 recent car buyers and sellers in the UK commissioned by CarGurus, the leading online automotive marketplace to shop, buy, and sell used vehicles, found that a quarter (24%) of buyers reported getting a great deal while 56% felt they got a good deal on their used car purchase. The annual CarGurus UK Consumer Insights Survey, which examines British car buying and selling habits, also found that fewer than 1% of buyers felt they got a less than fair deal.

Key reasons for buyers feeling they got a great deal include the ease of process (38%), additional benefits (26%), and price compared to initial budget (26%). Reflecting rising consumer desire for more convenience and ease, CarGurus research found that UK motorists increasingly want more digitalisation of the buying process with 58% (up from 49% a year prior) reporting they are open to completing a car purchase entirely online. Similarly, 71% of buyers (up from 61% in 2022) cited a preference to handle more of the car buying process from home.

The top preferred online activities include negotiating the price (43%); completing the transaction, payment, and paperwork (41%); arranging financing (37%); and initiating and completing a part exchange (30%).

The survey also revealed some notable generational differences in vehicle preferences, with Generation X (ages 41 - 56) and Boomers (ages 57 - 65) being most concerned about the vehicle fitting into their budget. Generation Z (ages 18-25), on the other hand, prioritised how the car feels to drive.

Generation Z respondents were three times more likely (15%) to choose safety as one of three key purchase factors than Boomers (5%), as well as integration of the latest technology (16% compared to 6%).

Whether a car fits their budget (35%) and reliability (32%) were the two most important buying factors across all age groups, according to CarGurus data.

The survey found that the average period of car ownership is four years, with 64% of sellers owning for less than five years. While 8% of UK motorists overall reported holding on to their cars for eight years or more, that number doubled to 17% for those in the Generation X age group. Top reasons for selling or trading-in a car were need for a vehicle replacement (40%) and desire for better mileage (27%).

Further illustrating a growing preference for the convenience of a digital process, three-in-four recent buyers/sellers reported being open to selling their vehicle entirely online, with 36% ultimately selling to an online site compared with 39% working with a dealer.

Amanda Symonds, Managing Director for CarGurus UK, said: “The research is emphatic: UK buyers feel they are still getting a good deal even though prices and selection of inventory continue to remain challenging. It’s clear that shopper desire for greater convenience and control is driving this outlook, with respondents citing the ease of the buying process as the top reason for satisfaction. This points to a lasting shift in consumer expectations as 71% of buyers reported a desire to handle more of the car buying process from home for their next purchase, up from 61% last year, and more than half being open to buying exclusively online.

“This research shows that dealers and private sellers who continue to focus on providing an easy and transparent experience for buyers stand to benefit, especially as the rising generation of car buyers in Generation Z report wanting to do more online at an increased rate of 82%.”

To access the UK Consumer Insights Report from CarGurus, click here.

CarGurus has also released a guide to help car buyers prepare for a purchase.

About CarGurus, Inc.
CarGurus (Nasdaq: CARG) is a multinational online automotive platform for buying and selling vehicles. The CarGurus platform gives consumers the confidence to purchase and/or sell a vehicle, and it gives dealerships the power to accurately price, effectively market, and quickly sell vehicles, all with a nationwide reach. The company uses proprietary technology, search algorithms and data analytics to bring trust, transparency, and competitive pricing to the automotive shopping experience.

CarGurus operates online marketplaces under the CarGurus brand in the UK, Canada, and US, where it is the most visited automotive shopping site*. In the US and UK, CarGurus also operates the Autolist and PistonHeads online marketplaces, respectively, as independent brands. Additionally, CarGurus holds a majority stake in CarOffer, a U.S.-based digital wholesale marketplace.

To learn more about CarGurus in the UK, visit CarGurus.co.uk, and for more information about PistonHeads, the largest online motoring community in the UK**, visit PistonHeads.com.

CarGurus® is a registered trademark of CarGurus, Inc., and CarOffer® is a registered trademark of CarOffer, LLC. All other product names, trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

*Similarweb: Traffic Insights, Q2 2023, US
**Similarweb: Traffic Insights, Q2 2023, UK

Maggie Meluzio