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Auto Trader's search by monthly price drives £300m worth of finance enquiries to retailers

Auto Trader's search by monthly price drives £300m worth of finance enquiries to retailers
Friday April 6 2018

According to Auto Trader circa £300 million worth of finance enquiries have been sent to retailers following the launch of its monthly payment search functionality in December.

In its latest Market Report Auto Trader revealed how positively consumers view car finance. 37% of car buyers chose to use finance as it enables them to buy a better car. In fact, consumers using finance typically pay 68% more on the sticker price of a car than those buying theirs outright: £17,087 vs £10,142. Crucially, 36% of buyers that purchased on finance did so because they couldn’t afford to purchase a car otherwise. 

Underpinning just how central to the car buying process finance has become, over half (52%) of consumers already consider the cost of a car as a monthly expense, rather than the full retail price. The new search feature, introduced on 20th December 2017, responds to this growing trend amongst car buyers, enabling them to search for their next car by their ideal monthly budget. 

The feature was developed in partnership with Codeweavers, and is designed to help retailers attract more buyers and increase their finance penetration by promoting their own finance offers much earlier in the buying journey. In January and February 2018, there were a combined 236 million ad views with finance options available and 1.9 million finance calculator interactions, with the total enquiries amounting to circa £300m. 

Auto Trader’s Retailer and Consumer Product Director, Jason Biffin, said: “Our extensive research highlights just how fundamental finance is in today’s car buying journey; over a third of consumers wouldn’t be able to afford a car without it. That’s just one reason why, despite negative speculation, the finance bubble is not set to burst, it’s set to grow, and it presents a huge opportunity for retailers to drive growth in their businesses and the wider market. This is particularly true of used, where a pipeline of younger and more desirable, but more expensive second-hand cars are entering the market driven by the average 2-3-year Personal Contract Plans (PCP) renewal cycle. 

“We’re arming retailers with the tools and the audience they need to capitalise on this vital opportunity, making finance easier to understand, easier to navigate and available to consumers at the beginning of their car buying journey.”

To drive awareness of monthly payments on Auto Trader, a fully integrated multimillion-pound campaign was launched on Christmas Day, running across TV, cinema, radio and digital. Since its launch over 41.6 million adults have seen the TV advertisement at least once, and 46.6 million adults have heard the radio advert, both of which celebrate the life events which trigger a next car purchase. 

The drive to encourage more consumers to Auto Trader with a monthly budget in mind, was further amplified by an exclusive partnership with celebrity mathematician Rachel Riley.  The ‘Know your numbers’ campaign included a series of original social media content, featuring Rachel helping consumers with their car buying dilemmas: from transporting triplets, to finding the right classic car colour for the mid-life crisis - she showed car buyers that it's even easier to find a car on finance using Auto Trader. The campaign, which ran for 30 days over February and March, drove circa 120,000 consumers to the Auto Trader marketplace, circa 88,000 of which were new users to Auto Trader.

In January alone, consumers spent 678 million minutes on Auto Trader, an 11% increase on the same period last year. 

To make consumers even more aware of finance options, monthly payments are now displayed in all search results on Auto Trader – whether they search by the monthly or cash price. Retailers are now able to include manufacturer, lender or their own deposit contributions to help make the monthly payment even more attractive to buyers.