The coronavirus is set to change car buying habits.

CarGurus, the fastest growing online automotive marketplace in the UK, has released a new study which has revealed that most consumers looking to purchase a car before the coronavirus pandemic hit are still intending to buy after lockdown restrictions are lifted.

The CarGurus COVID-19 UK Consumer Sentiment Study shows that only four percent of those looking to buy their next car before the pandemic have put their plans on hold.

At the other end of the spectrum, nearly a quarter (24 percent) are planning to buy as soon as the lockdown is lifted, while 84 percent of those looking to buy their next car this year have spent their time in lockdown researching their next purchase.

That doesn't mean there's light at the end of the tunnel for the automotive industry. Economic uncertainty (30 percent), dealership closures (32 percent), and believing their purchase is putting people at risk (26 percent) are some of the reasons why people are put off buying right now.

More than half (64 percent) of potential buyers say that their planned purchase is a necessary one, while 37 percent of those who were looking to buy new are thinking of going for a used car now instead.

Couple buying car at dealership and signing sales contract with salesman

As well as car purchasing, attitudes towards public transpoert have also changed, according to the study, with 44 percent of public transport users said they would lessen or stop their usage altogether, with 32 percent expected to use their car more or to purchase a new car to use instead.

Nearly half (48 percent) of regular ride-sharing or taxi users also expect their use of those services to either decrease or stop altogther, with 53 percent of those expecting to up the use of their own cars as a result. 

"There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on the automotive industry, but our study shows it’s not all bad news for the sector," said Madison Gross, director of customer insights at CarGurus. "Many consumers are still planning to buy a vehicle quickly when the lockdown ends. And in a strange twist, concerns about public transport and ride-sharing may actually drive new demand."