Car Buying Behaviour - Carzone Research

8 hours spent researching a car online before purchasing New Carzone research reveals our car buying behaviour

Key findings

  • Before purchasing a car, the average person spends 7.59 hours researching online
  • 3.32 hours are spent with the dealership or seller
  • Transparent pricing is the most important factor to shoppers followed by vehicle history
  • Carzone is the most popular classified / review site for researching vehicles with 72% of respondents listing Carzone as their first choice when researching vehicles
  • Over 4 in 10 say they would only consider buying a used car vs. 1 in 5 who would only consider a brand-new car
  • Almost half say they have a shortlist of car marques they want to buy



Before purchasing a car, the average person spends 7.59 hours researching online. That’s according to a new survey* by Carzone, Ireland's number one website to buy and sell new and used cars. The research of 500 Irish adults examines the entire car buying process from research phase to end purchase.


Doing your homework

According to the Carzone research, we spend a huge amount of time ‘doing our homework’ before we make a purchase. While the internet is the most popular research tool, an average of 3.32 hours is also spent face-to-face with the dealership or seller, and 2.63 hours are spent seeking advice from family and friends.

Car buyers spend almost twice as much time researching used cars online compared to new cars with an average 8.73 hours of online research going into a used car compared to 4.88 hours for a new vehicle.


Car researching


Online behaviour

Online research is mostly used to investigate the cost of a car (82%), while two thirds (67%) use the internet to compare different car models. 65% go online to find cars for sale, while over a third (39%) use it to locate a local dealership.

With so many of us turning to the world-wide web as our first port of call, it’s no surprise that classified websites are a trusted source of information for shoppers. Of those that use these sites, Carzone is the most popular website with 72% of people logging on to check out the latest vehicles for sale


What consumers want

Transparent pricing is the most important factor for Irish shoppers. A resounding 85% cite this as number one on their list when buying a car. The vehicle’s history is a close second with 83% saying they want this information before making a purchase, while 70% say car testimonials and reviews are an important part of their decision-making process. 80% say a timely response from a dealer or seller is key, indicating that dealers or sellers who respond quickly are more likely to make a sale.

Decisions Decisions

When planning a car purchase over 4 in 10 (44%) say they would only consider buying a used car while 1 in 5 (21%) say they would only buy a brand-new vehicle.

Almost half of all buyers (42%) have a shortlist of cars they are interested in purchasing while 37% say they knew the make and model they wanted to buy and focused their search on that marque. Only 10% of those questioned say they had no idea of the type of car they wanted to buy when looking to purchase.   

Commenting on the research Eoin Lally, operation director at Carzone said: “Aside from a house, for most of us a car is one of the most significant purchases we make so it’s no surprise that people are spending a huge amount of time researching before deciding on what car to buy. The research shows that reviews, transparent pricing, timely responses and vehicle history all play an important role in the buying process so it’s important for brands and dealerships to take this into account when selling.

“At Carzone we place a huge emphasis on ensuring that we have the right information for our customers so that the decision-making process is as quick and easy as possible. From clear pricing to car reviews, our site has a wealth of information to assist in the buying process.”





*Background & Methodology

Interviews were carried out online by Kantar MilwardBrown among a sample of 500 (margin of error +/- 4.4%) males and females aged 18+ who have either personally bought a new/used car in the last two years or had some responsibility in the decision-making process to buy a new/used car with another household member.

Research was required to:

  • Understand how buyers forms their opinions in terms of choosing a make and model of vehicle
  • Determine which channels/sources of information buyers used to research their options prior to purchase and which channels/sources are the most influential
  • Establish how involved buyers are in the car buying process, what factors are important to them and how much time they spend before coming to a final decision