The internet accounted for 3% of new and used car sales in the UK last year, according to new research from Mintel.
Mintel said 200,000 new and used vehicles, were bought online in 2010 compared with total car sales of 8.1 million units.
Over 30% of car buyers still choose the conventional approach of franchised or independent dealer to purchase their next car.
The most successful websites in the automotive sector are the ones serving as intermediaries for anyone selling cars elsewhere, typically dealers or private sellers, and those offering information on cars.
Promotional spend on cars has decreased during the recession and is now 82% of what was being spent in 2010.
While investment in internet projetcs went up by 317% over the same period it accounted for just 5.8% of total spend in 2010
Mintel singled out eBay Motors as the most successful site for used cars.
“While other players, such as AutoeBid and Tesco Cars, are seeking to develop online car buying further, it remains of niche interest, said Mintel.
* Online channels like eBay Motors appeal to young drivers and men
* Auction sites are especially popular with low-spend used car buyers
* Interest in using the internet varies considerably, being polarised currently towards those aged 16-24. Beyond this age, interest drops