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Today’s
automotive
market

Staying ahead in a competitive market
requires constant evolution,
agility and
relentless tech-led innovation.

The ecosystem
we operate in

The automotive market is complex and often
inefficient. There are multiple participants and
unsurprisingly, consumers can find the process
of buying or selling a car overwhelming.

Through Auto Trader products, services and
partnerships, we aim to significantly improve
the car buying experience, as well as leverage
our existing relationships to improve more of
the value chain.

33.5m

average size of UK
car parc at the end
of 2023

Driving change in tomorrow’s car market

We are continually adapting our onsite experience to meet
the needs of both our customers and consumers.
This is core to remaining the UK’s largest automotive
marketplace for new and used cars.

77.5 m

Cross platform visits

Monthly average visits spent across all platforms in 2024

13,783

Average retailer forecourts

 advertising with Auto Trader in 2024

445 k

Live car stock

Average number per month in 2024

New and used car
market dynamics

New car registrations

The new car retail market has been challenging and discounting has started to return. We are well placed to support structural changes in this market, which remains a significant opportunity. We now have products in market supporting franchise retailers, manufacturers and leasing companies selling new cars directly to consumers on Auto Trader.

 

The supply constraints that impacted new car registrations over a number of years following the pandemic have continued to ease over the past 12 months. Total new car registrations for financial year 2024 increased 18% to 2.0 million (2023: 1.7 million), with most of the growth coming from the fleet segment which has seen low volumes over much of the previous three years.

 

Despite the Government delaying the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, the penetration of electric vehicles was stable, making up 17% of all registrations (2023: 17%).

 

2.0m

new car registrations in the 12 months to March 2024,
+16% year-on-year

Used car transactions

The used car retail market has been robust throughout the financial year, which we expect to continue. Demand is resilient with cars continuing to sell faster than before the pandemic, and used car supply has gradually improved. Trade prices softened in the latter months of the calendar year, which subsequently impacted retail prices, but monthly pricing movements have since stabilised.

 

There were 7.3 million used car transactions in the 12 months to March 2024, up 6% year on year (2023: 6.9 million). Supply has gradually improved through the year as new car registrations have grown through the fleet channel, which has in turn increased the availability of ex-fleet stock for franchise and independent customers.

 

The growth in used car transactions is larger than our increase in live car stock on site as the speed at which cars have been sold has continued to be quicker.

7.3m

used car transactions in the 12 months to March 2024,
+6% year-on-year

News & views

Retail Price Index

Providing an overview of the latest pricing data from
our marketplace and across the retail market.

+16%

year-on-year increase in new car registrations during 2024

>80%

of younger car buyers are open to the concept of digital retailing

c.900,000

daily price observations tracked by our RPI

22,536

EV advert views appeared on our site on average during 2024

The key drivers shaping the future of our industry

The automotive industry as a whole is facing an
unprecedented wave of change, most notably in the way
people buy cars and the acceleration in the adoption of
electric vehicles. Over the next 5 to 10 years, the cars
consumers drive and the ways in which they buy, own
and use them will be dramatically reshaped.

More of the buying journey moving online

The increasing importance of data

Significant changes within the new car market

Supporting the transition to electric

Key trend

Consumer appetite to do more of the car buying journey online continues to be strong. Our internal research showed that around 7 in 10 car buyers either have completed or want to complete more of their car buying jobs online. It’s worth noting though that whilst this desire to do more online exists, the forecourt experience remains an important part of the process for buyers and we expect the car buying journey, particularly for used cars, to be omnichannel for a number of years to come.

 

Future opportunities

Looking ahead, we will continue scaling Deal Builder and building out the functionality for new vehicle leasing on Auto Trader. For Deal Builder we expect to integrate further with technology partners and increase our penetration with lenders to extend the offering to more customer segments. We have started to monetise a small cohort of customers which we also expect to increase over the next 12 months.

Key trend

Changes in supply dynamics, electric vehicle demand and wholesale trends are driving complexity and volatility in the used car market. In turn, it’s creating uncertainty for retailers and making forecourt strategies harder to manage.

 

Future opportunities

From 1 April 2024, we made a further module of Auto Trader Connect available which included Trended Valuations and enhanced Retail Check functionality. Combined, this powerful new layer of intelligence helps retailers confidently understand the past and present trends in terms of pricing and demand so they can make better decisions when buying or retailing vehicles.

Key trend

The new car market has seen increased levels of supply throughout the last 12 months, which has resulted in growing levels of discounting and price reductions. These changes in the balance of demand and supply are on top of significant structural changes. These changes are the growth in electric vehicles; new market entrants; a move to more direct and digital sales channels; and the implementation of agency agreements by a number of manufacturers.

 

Future opportunities

With the level of structural change and volatile market dynamics likely to continue, we believe we can continue to scale the products we have available to customers. The penetration of franchise customers is currently only 50%, which we expect to increase over the next 12 months, and as a growing number of manufacturers move to a more direct sales channel, we expect to have them advertising on Auto Trader.

Key trend

The introduction of the Government’s Zero Emission Vehicle mandate is the defining feature of the electric market in 2024. As pressure from Government targets impacts the market, price and affordability will likely be a key factor in generating consumer demand. This has already been seen with average new car discount levels increasing on electric cars, which has also weighed on used electric pricing. As certain brands reach price parity in the used market, many buyers are considering switching to electric for their next purchase.

 

Future opportunities

As the electric market matures and Government actions continue to impact, Auto Trader has a significant opportunity and responsibility to support the development of a successful electric market in the UK. With demand for electric cars stagnating and the second-hand market on the verge of substantial supply growth, Auto Trader can use its market position and insight to guide and support its partners, the Government and consumers through this once in a lifetime transition.

View the latest market data

To discover more about today’s
automotive market, check out the latest
publications in our news & views section.

Publications

Related links

Generating value

Maintaining a robust value creation model for driving growth and succeeding in the strategic delivery of our purpose.

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Our strategy in action

Bringing together our three strategic priorities to deliver the best, data-driven digital retailing experience for our consumers and retailers.

Read More

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