Buy, sell, trade – car buyers are online

According to two new surveys conducted by Leger Marketing and ComScore for classifieds site, nearly half of recent used car buyers bought from individuals rather than dealerships.

A new car smell is not enough motivation for Canadians to splurge on a new car in a recession, according to two new surveys conducted by Leger Marketing and ComScore for classifieds site According to the Leger survey conducted this April, 47% of Canadians said that if faced with purchasing a car in the current economic climate, they would choose a used vehicle. When asked about their past purchases, 68% of all recent buyers said they bought used, according to the ComScore survey, conducted in March.

The surveys should help marketers better understand the auto-buying consumer, and be able to reach that target more effectively and efficiently, says Andrew Sloss, country manager, Kijiji Canada.

‘With all of the attention the auto industry gets, in media reports and advertising, used vehicle buyers and sellers often get left out of the picture,’ Sloss tells MiC. ‘We wanted to provide our clients, as well as the industry at large, with a good understanding of their target market and answer the question: Why do 3 million Canadians visit the site each month to shop for cars?’

Even worse news for auto dealers is the fact that used car buyers seem to favour seeking great finds and cutting deals on their own. Of those who have recently purchased a used vehicle, 44% bought from a private individual, and 29% made the purchase from a used car dealership (ComScore). But about one in five Canadians start the process as undecided about whether to purchase new or used.

ComScore data shows that 58% of Canadians are more likely to go online to search for information than they are to speak to a used car salesperson (28%). About two-thirds report using the Internet to research a past or upcoming vehicle purchase.

According to Leger numbers, Canadians who live in the Prairies are most likely (63%) to make their next car purchase a used vehicle, as are those under the age of 45 (55%) and those with children (52%).

In March 2009, more than 3.1 million unique visitors turned to, which has local sites for 63 cities across Canada, seeking a used vehicle, according to ComScore.