Press release

Auto Trader grows influence as two thirds of its customers' used car sales generated through its marketplace

According to the latest data from Auto Trader, its marketplace has never been stronger, attracting an average of 64 million cross platform visits in 2021, marking a massive 15%[i] increase on the prior year. Such is its current strength, Auto Trader influenced 8%[ii] more of its retailer partners' sales last year than in 2020, resulting in two out of every three[iii] of their used car sales being generated from its platform.

Auto Trader’s influence was supported by significant consumer marketing activity throughout the year. In fact, 2021 represented Auto Trader’s largest ever annual marketing investment, and culminated in the launch of a new campaign on Christmas Day, which highlights the ease and simplicity of buying a car online from retailers on its marketplace. Scheduled to run until April 2022, in its first two weeks the campaign already reached 22% of all UK adults at least once through TV advertising and achieved over 24 million ‘impacts’ across TV and video on demand channels[iv]. It’s well on target to reach over 80% all UK adults over the course of the campaign.

The campaign helped fuel even greater consumer demand on Auto Trader. Between Christmas and the New Year there were 1.3 million daily unique users on its marketplace and highlighting just how strong today’s retail market is, last week this increased to an average of 1.4 million[v].

In addition to more visits, the level of consumer engagement on Auto Trader has also strengthened, and today, over 75%[vi] of all time spent on UK automotive sites is spent on its marketplace. As a result, the volume of leads delivered to retailers in 2021 also saw significant growth, increasing 20% on 2020, and a massive 62%[vii] on pre-pandemic 2019. It’s a clear sign of both strong buyer intent, as well as the ever-increasing importance of digital in the buying process.  

Empowering more retailers than ever before

The automotive industry is evolving faster than ever. Not only are today’s unique market dynamics fuelling almost hourly price changes, but the ongoing adoption of digital retailing is changing the foundations of automotive retail.  Auto Trader is committed to empowering its circa 13,000 retailer partners with the tools and insights they need to adapt to these changes, and ultimately, to sell more, faster, and smarter. Auto Trader is working with more retailers than ever before[viii], and in 2021, partnered with 670 more businesses than in 2020.

Nathan Coe, Auto Trader’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “2021 was a remarkable year for the industry, and I’m pleased that the very strong levels of consumer demand resulted in many retailers achieving record performance. The high demand, which we saw reflected on Auto Trader, also helped to fuel unprecedented double-digit price growth, and with it, very strong margins. Last year also marked important changes in consumer buying behaviours and a further positive shift in sentiment towards digital retailing, all of which will have a long-lasting influence on automotive retailing.

“As we look forward to the year ahead, and beyond, we’re proud that the strength of our marketplace puts us in the best possible position to help our retailer partners. Not only to capitalise on the growth in consumer demand, but as we continue to provide more tools, more data, and more insight, to also successfully embrace the huge opportunities that these changes present.”

[i] Google Analytics data, average number of cross-platform visits a month in 2021 and % increase in average number of cross-platform visits a month in 2021 vs 2020.

[ii] Auto Trader internal analysis, October 2021, based on a sample size of 245,431 sales records across 2,443 retailers who shared their sales data during Q3 2021. Influence is determined by matching consumer behaviour on Auto Trader with the relevant retailer’s sales data.

[iii] Auto Trader internal analysis, October 2021, based on a sample size of 245,431 sales records across 2,443 retailers who shared their sales data during Q3 2021. Influence is determined by matching consumer behaviour on Auto Trader with the relevant retailer’s sales data.

[iv] The Specialist Works data, 25th December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

[v] Auto Traer internal data – average daily users 27th December – 31st December 2021 (inclusive) and average daily users 2nd – 9th January 2022 (inclusive)

[vi] Share of minutes is a custom metric based on Comscore minutes (MM) (revised) and is calculated by dividing Auto Trader’s total minutes volume by the entire custom-defined competitive set’s total minutes volume. Comscore MMX® Multi-Platform, Total Audience, July 2019 through September 2021, UK. Custom-defined list includes: Auto Trader, Gumtree.com - Motors, eBay Motors UK, Pistonheads sites, Motors.co.uk, CarGurus, Auto Express.co.uk, Topgear.com, Parkers.co.uk, Whatcar.com, Carwow.com, Exchange&Mart, Vcars, RAC cars, Trusteddealers.co.uk, Carsnip.co.uk.

[vii] Auto Trader internal data – total count of calls, emails, texts and chats 1st January – 31st December 2021 vs 1st January – 31st December 2020 and 2019

[viii] Auto Trader internal data increase in car and or van retailer partners in February 2022 vs average monthly number of retailer partners in 2020.

We're excited to announce that, as of 1st July, we'll be powering the used car pages on @whatcar and its sister site, @autocar. https://t.co/H4GJLafkh7
We're excited to announce that, as of 1st July, we'll be powering the used car pages on @whatcar and its sister site, @autocar. https://t.co/H4GJLafkh7
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