ONLINE car buying has taken an unexpected route.
Rural dwellers seem to be taking a lead in this new form of car purchase with hot-spots identified as far north as the Scottish Highlands and islands - including the Outer Hebrides - as well as parts of Wales and the south east coastal counties.
Online car sales data usually suggests there is a greater concentration of buyers in the big metropolitan area, where most of the population lives.
But online-only car retailer BuyaCar.co.uk arrived at the true picture by calculating its sales per 100,000 of population.
BuyaCar.co.uk's delivery analysis reveals that customers in the Scottish Highlands and many English and Welsh coastal areas are more likely to order their car online and have it delivered to their door than those in London, Manchester, Birmingham or Newcastle.
These customers are typically further away from their local car dealership. Online car retailers are often the only realistic way of comparing cars and prices.
Analysts crunched the national numbers after discovering that the average distance BuyaCar.co.uk covers to deliver a car to a customer's door is 197 miles, based on data from the past six months.
In what is believed to be the first study of its kind for car-buying they have now produced a ‘heat map' of Britain, revealing where people are most likely to opt for the online-only car purchase method instead of taking the traditional approach of visiting physical dealerships.
Online car buying has exploded in Britain in recent times after BuyaCar.co.uk first pioneered the concept in 2002.
Back then there was widespread scepticism that motorists would ever be comfortable buying cars without first touching, smelling and driving the exact car they wanted to buy.
But BuyaCar.co.uk found that some people were happy to have found a new way to buy a car that didn't involve face-to-face haggling.
Since then the internet has become the ‘shop' of choice for countless consumers with online spending representing nearly 15% of all retail spending in Britain, according to the latest government figures for January 2017.
Today even motor manufacturers themselves are joining in to create what has been dubbed as ‘the Amazonification of motor retail'.
Hyundai, Peugeot, BMW and smart are among the manufacturers that offer the option of buying their new cars online.
BuyaCar.co.uk has welcomed increased competition in online motor retail over recent years as a sign that resistance to the online purchase process for the 2nd biggest item most people will ever buy is gradually disappearing.
In its latest survey of nearly 1,000 motorists more than 25% of people said they were no longer afraid to buy a car without seeing it first.