Press release

All-time record for consumer interest in car buying says Auto Trader

All-time record of cross-platform visits to Auto Trader in January with 58 million

  • All-time record of visits to Auto Trader in January with 58 million cross-platform visits
  • Car buyers are 59% more confident in being able to afford their next car than they were a year ago

January 2020 was a record month for car buying visitors to the UK’s leading digital automotive marketplace. Auto Trader saw 58 million cross-platform visits, up 5% compared to the previous record held in March 2019. As well as impressive visitors numbers, in January the business neared 14 million total downloads of its mobile app.

An average of 213 hours was spent every minute on Auto Trader in January, with 259 million full page advert views of new and used vehicles. This indicates retailers had a huge opportunity to sell cars faster across the month. Despite the SMMT announcing new car registrations were down last month, anecdotally retailers have seen increased foot fall and order take and anticipate a positive first quarter for the year.

Demand was up on Auto Trader year-on-year in January for vehicles of all fuel types too; diesel by 4%, petrol by 7%, alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) by 72% and EVs by 110%. With demand increasing, prices are stabilising; while like-for-like (taking into account the difference in vehicles entering and leaving the market) prices were down -3%, the speed at which prices are decreasing is slowing, indicating prices are more resilient that they have been previously. The average price of an advertised used car in January was £13,557 compared to £12,960 in the same period last year.

General consumer confidence rose last month, according to GFK’s Consumer Confidence Index. This was supported by Auto Trader research among car buyers which revealed that 59% felt more confident in January in being able to afford their next car than they did a year ago.

The rise in consumer confidence, coupled with the impending changes to vehicle excise duty poses a solid opportunity for retailers to sell more cars in the first three months of this year.

Ian Plummer, Commercial Director at Auto Trader comments:

Following the general election in December and now that the light is starting to shine through the Brexit tunnel, it seems that the market is stabilising and hopefully will continue across Q1 and beyond. With increased consumer confidence too, retailers have a great opportunity to convert sales this quarter, particularly when audiences are so high on our marketplace.

“Retailers are more confident too. Many of our retail partners have told us they’re feeling optimistic about 2020 and this is seen this through the volumes at auctions. Auction groups announced that in January weekly and day sales records were broken, this positive demand in the wholesale sector further confirms that retailers are experiencing higher levels of retail activity.

“Now’s a particularly good time for retailers; demand for electric vehicles skyrocketed after the government’s announcement to ban diesel and petrol cars in 2035, and retailers can use this time to capitalise on the car tax changes which come into effect on 6th April. Consumers could be left paying significantly more for tax on new cars – as much as £960 more for some models – so they’ll have the impetus to buy new cars this quarter.”

About the Auto Trader Retail Price Index

The Auto Trader Retail Price Index is published monthly and provides an overview of the latest price and search data from our marketplace. Our team of data scientists monitor over 1.9 million vehicles each day, including 90,000 vehicle updates and an average of 19,000 vehicles added or removed from Auto Trader. Coupled with data from circa 450,000 trade car listings every day, as well as additional retailer forecourts and website data (OEM, fleet and leasing disposal prices and pricing data from over 3,000 car dealership websites and data from major auction houses across the UK), ensuring the Index is an accurate reflection of the live retail market.

About Auto Trader

Auto Trader Group plc is the UK and Ireland's largest digital automotive marketplace. Auto Trader sits at the heart of the UK's vehicle buying process and its primary activity is to help vehicle retailers compete effectively on the marketplace in order to sell more vehicles, faster. Auto Trader listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2015 and is now a member of the FTSE 100 Index.

The marketplace brings together the largest and most engaged consumer audience. Auto Trader has over 90% prompted brand awareness and attracts circa 50 million monthly cross platform visits each month, with over 70% of visits coming through mobile devices.

The marketplace also has the largest pool of vehicle sellers (listing around 450,000 cars each day). Around 80% of UK automotive retailers advertise on autotrader.co.uk.

According to our latest pricing snapshot, the strong growth in used car prices has continued into September. The average cost of a used car grew 7.4% YoY last week, marking 19 weeks of consecutive growth. Read the results in full here: https://t.co/TX88xlBOpU https://t.co/xEszb3JolF
In our latest blog post - we speak with Rob Keenan, joint MD at @DriveVauxhall about how the last 6 months have been for the franchise group and what lessons they have learnt that they have implemented through the 70’s plate change. https://t.co/FJefiRvQrU
A perfect review score isn’t everything. Most buyers trust reviews more when they can see a mix of reviews along with how the retailer handled the customers feedback. Which begs the question, how much emphasis do you place on reviews and are you responding to each one? https://t.co/0OFqGVrEJb
Sourcing stock is one of the main challenges retailers face right now. That’s why it’s critical to be diversifying your stock profile – something that has been key to @DriveVauxhall managing to keep stock flow at normal levels through these challenging times! #atinsightoftheday https://t.co/CWBIOeCKDp
Be sure to register for our next webinar where Nathan Coe, CEO, Auto Trader will be speaking with @MarshallMotorGp. This is not one to be missed so register now - https://t.co/lWu984OeRI https://t.co/fnnG3OgNWM
Now it's over to @chrispenny222 who has announced he has man flu (not covid)! He's also hear to announce our new masterclass programme... https://t.co/NPyRXsRxWV
Huge thanks to Rob and @DriveVauxhall for joining our #webinar today. We'll be sharing the interview on our blog tomorrow so stay tuned!
Over to our interview with Robert Keenan, Managing Director of @DriveVauxhall - we've been looking forward to this one! https://t.co/OzSEigKg2J
Over to @MarcThornboroug for a few key updates! https://t.co/guf1A9dX1n
On to pricing now where we're seeing petrol and diesel prices up by 8% with #alternativefuel vehicles seeing a slight decline in prices.

Auto Trader Group plc
Registered in England (Company number: 09439967)

Auto Trader Limited
Registered in England and Wales (Company number: 03909628)

Registered address:

1 Tony Wilson Place
Manchester
M15 4FN
VAT number: GB 614 8918 20

Keep in touch

We use social media to speak to the UK’s largest car buying audience