New data out on Monday (30 March) reveals that the majority of online car shoppers in South Africa are searching for affordable hatchbacks.
According to recent forecasts, the South African new car market is likely to experience very little growth this year as motorists shift towards the used car market.
The latest statistics from a leading online vehicle portal, Surf4Cars, shows in which segments buyers are shopping, as well as what they’re most interested in.
Research indicates that nearly 80% of the time taken to arrive at a vehicle purchase decision is now spent online, according to the online vehicle purchasing site.
“The needs of the market are fairly clear when looking at the data,” said Charles Grassie, MD at Surf4Cars. “And the picture painted is one of affordability: the majority of searches are for small family hatchbacks in the entry-level price bands.”
Of all used car searches performed on Surf4Cars in the last quarter, 60% were for vehicles that cost between R150,000 and R200,000. These are buyers who have a reasonable budget for a car, but high price inflation for new cars means that they’re less likely to shop new and are looking for better value in the pre-owned space.
“Naturally, buyers looking for affordable vehicles also want something that is reliable and cheap to maintain,” said Grassie. “To this end we see that there’s a trend of buyers sticking to familiar, mainstream brands.”
Of the top 20 most-searched-for brands on Surf4Cars, the top three are also the three top-performing brands according to monthly sales data in the new car market.
Volkswagen, Toyota, and Ford make up 44% of the top 20 search volumes, at 22.6%, 20.9%, and 10.8%, respectively. Mainstream manufacturers show up 12 times, in the top 20, and searches for these brands comprise 73% of the total.
In the model breakdown Volkswagen’s products once again prove most popular with online shoppers. The Polo, Polo Vivo, and long-discontinued Citi Golf have the lion’s share of the top 20, with a combined total of 24% of searches being for these compact hatches.
Hatchbacks make up 34% of search volumes, with buyers also looking at the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Opel Corsa, Mini Cooper, BMW 1-series, Ford Focus, as well as more recent Volkswagen Golf models.
South African buyers are also fond of bakkies, with the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Isuzu KB, and Corsa Utility all featuring in the top 20.
This makes up a healthy 23% of all searches – and shows that there is a demand for these practical vehicles at affordable prices.