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Online car sales worldwide - statistics & facts

Global revenue from online vehicle retail, aftersales, and services is rapidly growing and will likely continue to acquire market share over the next couple of years. Amid the pandemic, restrictions on retail openings for non-essential businesses encouraged auto dealers to digitalize and succumb to the wider trend of growing e-commerce and a preference for personal travel. Concurrently, auto production stalled as a result of work stoppages caused by the pandemic and a shortage in microchips, leading to increased interest in used cars.

Online markets for used vehicle retail are more established

Used vehicle dealers in particular accelerated their efforts to offer digital services. This has meant that some companies specializing in the used vehicle market have managed to perform well on the stock market. Online retailers such as Carvana are expected to continue their strong growth throughout 2025. The market is not just going onto the internet but onto smartphones with mobile apps accounting for a significant portion of digital sales, and there are many new entrants from outside the conventional car dealer business, including Amazon Vehicles or China's Autohome platform.

Meanwhile, manufacturers of new vehicles have for many years held an online presence but now further digitalized their digital purchasing service. Electric vehicle maker Tesla is the most extreme example of this trend. The company intends to move its purchasing to be exclusively online. A similar move was announced in March 2021 by Volvo for their line of electric vehicles.

To sell a vehicle, online retailers must be able to provide a digital check of documents and the physical state of the machine. Some of the negative effects of the digital buying process include being unable to inspect the car in person until after delivery or being required to visit a location, or the delivery costs themselves. Online car shoppers also expect more customer-centricity, including live chat capabilities for assistance.

Main reasons why customers prefer to buy cars online

Buying cars online offers several advantages over in-person dealerships. Among other things, it avoids the need to travel to a location and facilitates a flexible approach to the car buying experience in which customers can control the speed at which the purchase takes place. Haggling with salespeople is also avoided. Motorists can also sell their current vehicle and then proceed with acquiring their new vehicle rather than having to juggle both tasks in a trade with a dealership.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 27 most important statistics relating to "Online car sales worldwide".

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