Younger women are leading the charge to buy used cars online after more women than men dropped out of the market toward the end of 2020.
Those aged 18 to 24 are now responsible for 6 out of every 10 car purchases in that age group, according to data released by the online car supermarket BuyaCar.co.uk, which regularly tracks internet-based car-buying behaviour.
Since 2016 women have driven growth in the online car market faster than men and last year formed 50% of all buyers for the first time ever, before falling back toward the end of the year to less than 40%.
At the same time those women who remained in the market were spending an average 60% more on a used car purchase in December 2020 than they were at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.
However, BuyaCar analysts speculate that a swing in the balance between men and women in the market towards the end of the year reflects the more widely reported issue of women suffering greater negative economic impacts from the pandemic.*
But that disparity now seems to be changing with data showing that women are returning to the market in force as younger women in particular flock to buy cars, outnumbering men by six to four.
The 18 to 24 year age bracket is consistently where women are most represented in the online used car market, generally matching the purchase activity of men, while tending to reduce as a proportion of BuyaCar.co.ukcustomers through the higher age bands.
But after several years of driving the lion’s share of growth in online used car buying, women seemed to lose ground rapidly from around the time of Britain’s third lockdown.
For example, by March of this year, the share of cars bought by women aged between 35 and 44 fell from the usual proportion of around 40% to 29.5%. As Britain emerges from lockdown, women in that age band have returned to form 42.3% of all purchases.
And as well as dominating the 18 to 24 age bracket in April, when it comes to budget cars below £5,000 up to 70% of customers are women.
Christofer Lloyd, Editor of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: “There has been a very mixed picture in terms of female car buyers over the past 12 months, with the emergence of an apparent gap with men as the coronavirus crisis worsened.
“It should come as no surprise that women began to slip out of the market when the third lockdown began because the disproportionate economic effect of Covid-19 on women has been well documented and we are glad to see such strong signs of women returning to the market now that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“There was also a clear difference between the fortunes of women in different economic circumstances as those who stayed in the market last year were spending more than ever before, even as those who tend to buy at the budget end of the market took a break from buying altogether.
“As some semblance of normality begins to return and the car market bounces back dramatically, we expect to see women as particularly instrumental in the recovery of Britain’s automotive sector.”