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Cost of living delays one in five car purchases

Motoring Research logo Motoring Research 24/05/2022 John Redfern
Cost of living car purchases © Provided by Motoring Research Cost of living car purchases

The cost of living crisis will have an impact on almost three-quarters of UK car purchases in 2022. 

That’s according to new consumer research by eBay Motors Group, which identified that around one in five (19 percent) of buyers are now looking to delay buying a new or used car. 

It marks another challenge for the motor industry, having already struggled with the coronavirus pandemic and semiconductor shortages during the past two years.

Downsizing and delays

Cost of living car purchases © Provided by Motoring Research Cost of living car purchases

The survey, undertaken as part of eBay’s ongoing Consumer Insight Panel, addressed 3,000 people who had previously expressed an interest in purchasing a new or used car.   

Rising energy bills, following Ofgem’s increased pricing cap, resulted in close to a quarter (23 percent) saying they will now delay buying a car. A further 29 percent said they would choose a cheaper car instead, with 20 percent opting for a smaller model. 


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A similar number (23 percent) said cost of living price increases have caused them to reconsider buying a car altogether.

The inflation of petrol and diesel prices is also a factor affecting car-buying decisions. Fully 70 percent of respondents said this was an issue to consider.

Money worries have a ‘real impact’

Cost of living car purchases © Provided by Motoring Research Cost of living car purchases

The Government’s increase in National Insurance contributions has led 17 percent to delay their next car purchase. Similarly, higher council tax bills are a factor preventing 18 percent going ahead.

“Our research shows how the cost of living crisis is having a real impact on the decisions made by a significant majority of car buyers,” said Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group.

“While for most of these buyers it will mean a pragmatic shift to cheaper and smaller cars, which in itself may be challenging as advertised prices for used cars are still tracking up 20 percent, what is apparent is that one in five buyers will delay their next purchase.”

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