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Would you buy a car through an app on your phone?

Motorists appear increasingly willing to buy a car unseen through an app on their smartphone, the results of a survey from automotive data company HPI suggest.

Consumers aged between 24 and 35 were the most likely to buy a car in this way.Around 80% said they would at least consider it when buying a new car, and around 75% when buying a used car.

In fact, 13% of those who took part in the survey had already bought a new or used vehicle online without seeing it first. And while around 65% of them said they had complete confidence in the process, around 35% admitted they had some reservations but went ahead with it anyway.

“It's easy to see why consumers feel quite relaxed about buying a car without seeing it first,” Fernando Garcia, a consumer expert at HPI, said. “Virtually all car manufacturers have an approved used scheme in place that allows consumers to buy a car with a long warranty, often providing the same peace of mind as a new car.

“The faith in these schemes is illustrated by the responses to our research.Of those who would buy a car without trying it first, the majority would feel the most comfortable if the app was created by an official dealer or car manufacturer. If the app was developed by a third-party company, that peace of mind would be much less evident.”

There were some significant differences between men and women in the survey.Men were much more willing to buy unseen and pay upfront.Around 25% said they were comfortable with this approach when buying a new car, compared to 14% of women.For used cars, the figures were 14% and 9% respectively.

Similarly, 35% of men said they would be prepared to buy a new car via an app on their smartphone, compared to 22% of women.For used cars, the figures were 18% and 12% respectively.

Fernando Garcia added: “This research shows that we are changing the way we buy. Although men and women do have some concerns about buying a car via a mobile app, it would appear that in time it is something they would be prepared to do. Buying vehicles via mobile apps as is done routinely for more everyday items allows for much greater freedom and flexibility.”