Study: Men twice as likely as women to buy cars online

February 20, 2017

Another day, another study proving yet again that, yes, consumers really want to buy cars online.

This time, the study comes from eBay Advertising. To gather its data, the company first surveyed over 1,000 U.S. consumers who'd bought a vehicle within the previous six months. Then, it took a close look at data from 1,000 shoppers who'd either bought something from the "cars & trucks" section of eBay Motors or who'd browsed the site in 2016. 

Here are a few of the study's key takeaways:

1. The vast majority of consumers use the internet to research a vehicle before making a purchase. According to the study, 87 percent of those surveyed said that they'd compared prices and ratings on certain models and pored over a variety of reviews before signing on the dotted line.

2. A smaller but still notable majority of consumers are eager to buy cars online. In fact, 63 percent of respondents said that they were either likely or extremely likely to purchase a vehicle online in the future. (That's slightly higher than the figure from another recent survey we've discussed.)

3. Men are far more comfortable buying cars online than women: Data on consumers who'd bought cars on eBay Motors found men making twice as many purchases through the site as women. In doing so, it appears that men are most drawn to the convenience of online shopping, the lower prices, and the access to a variety of options. 

4. Men and women have different reasons for buying cars offline: When folks choose not to buy online, women say that it's because they want to be able to test drive a vehicle. Men, on the other hand, say that they want to inspect the car's condition first. 

5. Men and women want similar things from their vehicles: According to eBay, price, reliability and safety are the top car criteria for both men and women. However, women are more likely to express the desire to keep a car until it dies.

6. Consumers seem to know that they're bad drivers: When eBay asked consumers what they might be willing to do to reduce their insurance premiums, 72 percent said that they'd be happy to drive more carefully.  Driving a more conservative car and upgrading their cars' security systems were also popular answers among 59 percent and 57 percent of respondents, respectively. 

The eBay survey then took a left turn into strange territory, asking consumers what else besides their cars they'd like to insure. (Apart from personal identities and their relationships with significant others, physical appearance was a pretty popular answer--at least among men making $70,000 or more.) You can dig into some of the other findings here.

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