Has e-shopping reduced the need for a car?

It’s one of those situations where technology has advanced quicker than anyone could have thought.

E-shopping, in particular during 2020 due to Covid restrictions, has really taken off which could partly be attributed to people’s busy lives combined with the ease of ordering online.

As the name suggests, e-shopping is the notion of ordering products digitally, either through an app or direct from a website. Because this can be done from anywhere, including the comfort of your own home, the need to travel to a bricks and mortar store is drastically reduced.

Autoweb Design wanted to see whether this had an impact on the need to own a car. If people are travelling less to bricks and mortar stores, has the need for a car been impacted by the increase of e-shopping?

Let’s take a look at how footfall has been affected to bricks and mortar stores…

The noticeable decrease in footfall to bricks and mortar stores has been dropping since 2019, all before the harsh lockdowns we have been exposed to were even imposed.


It might be assumed that the sharp decrease in footfall wouldn’t have been quite as drastic if it wasn’t for Covid restrictions so comparing the data is a bit more difficult than it ordinarily would be.

What other factors could affect car sales

In a recent study by ScienceDirect, it’s established that decreased footfall to bricks and mortar stores is not enough to have a dramatic impact on car sales alone. Reducing the amount of times a consumer visits a bricks and mortar store does not automatically reduce the need to own a car. There’s other reasons to own a car, many of them from a convenience point of view.

That being said, it may go part way for the consumer to make the decision to eventually surrender their car, but it seems there are other factors that have a bigger affect on that decision, such as quality of public transport links and environmental factors.

Geographical demographics could also have a different impact on the need for a car, even if consumers don’t plan on using bricks and mortar stores again in the future. Those living in remote locations would still very much rely on a car to get from A to B as public transport links are almost non-existent, compared to that of a city environment.

Those who reside in city centres may already be considering selling their car as everything is on their doorsteps and the recent enhancements in e-commerce may have made that final decision for them, but this isn’t likely to be across the board.

From what we have found, it can be thought that car sales have declined but not purely from the rise in e-shopping, but rather a multitude of factors combined.

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