Drivers spent £523m on car washes last year, according to a new report from Datamonitor. The research company

found that hand car wash operations, including those in supermarket car parks, accounted for 45% of value sales with the remainder of the market split between standalone car wash businesses and garage forecourts. However, in volume terms, service station washes led the market.


The report’s author, Alex Jeater, told Forecourt Trader: "Unfortunately there is still a perception in the UK that automatic car washes can scratch cars and people therefore believe that hand car washing is better."


According to Datamonitor, last year each car in the UK was cleaned more than eight times. Drivers paid to get their cars cleaned five times, spending £15 on commercial car washing during the year. The other three washes were done at home.


In Germany, stringent water recycling regulations in many regions mean it is illegal for motorists to wash their cars at home. Consequently last year German motorists spent an average of £35 at commercial car washes. Jeater believed there was an opportunity for forecourts here to promote their environmental credentials to drivers: "This is an especially relevant issue because of water shortages and hosepipe bans."