Press release

Auto Trader Retail Price Index | December 2020

2019 ended on a positive note, as used car prices increased

  • The average price of a used car in December was £13,542
  • The average price of a used car in 2019 was £12,800 and like-for-like prices ended the year up 0.6%
  • Supply of EVs across December increased by 167%

The average price of a used car in December was £13,542 up from £12,976 in December 2018, reveals the Auto Trader Retail Price Index. After removing the impact of stock mix (changes in the types of vehicle entering or leaving the market), on a like-for-like basis prices contracted by -3.3%.

Despite the second half of 2019 proving challenging for the industry, the year overall ended with like-for-like price growth increasing by 0.6% when compared to 2018, meaning the average price of a used car was £12,800.

Supply of EVs almost triples but falls short of demand – keeping prices high

Demand for electric vehicles (EVs) increased in December, as measured by search behaviour on Auto Trader, by a healthy 78% when compared to the same period in 2018. Supply of EVs increased too, almost tripling at 167%, as measured by the volume of stock advertised on Auto Trader. A similar trend was observed for the wider alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) category – which includes EVs. Demand increased by over a third in December (38%) vs. December 2018 and was met with an increase in supply of 74%.

Despite supply growth outpacing demand in December, there is still an overall imbalance. EVs and AFVs share of search is still much higher than its share of stock. AFVs and EVs only account for 3.4% and 0.5% of total stock on Auto Trader’s marketplace respectively, but AFVs now account for 9% of all searches conducted by fuel type. This is the highest share of search for AFVs on record – increasing from 8% in November 2019. The supply shortage has ensured prices remain high, with a like-for-like increase of 2.6% year-on-year for AFVs and 12.9% for EVs.

The difference in average asking prices between internal combustion engines (ICE) and AFVs also continues to grow, increasing by 11% year-on-year. Petrol cars continue to be most popular, with 49% share of search (down from 50% in November) while diesels account for 42% (no change on November).

Premium brands faring well

There’s been an uplift in the volume of premium brand vehicles on the marketplace in December, increasing by 9.2% compared to the same time in 2018. Demand for these cars is also up by 15% year-on-year, a trend mirrored in actual new car sales last year, as reported by the SMMT. However, like-for-like prices of these cars contracted by 2.2% year-on-year. Despite the dip the segment is still fairing more favourably than the overall market average.

SUVs remain popular but supply outweighs demand

Higher consumer interest in SUVs has also been observed across Auto Trader in December. Searches for these vehicles increased 9% year-on-year. However, supply is outstripping demand as volumes of SUVs on Auto Trader increased by 14.6% in the month. This could have been a contributing factor to the like-for-like price dip of 4.4%.

When comparing ages of SUVs, like-for-like prices fell as the age of SUVs increased. This suggests that older cars of this body type don’t hold their value as well as younger models.

Ian Plummer, Commercial Director at Auto Trader, explains, “Lower consumer confidence, global economic uncertainty, as well as the adjustment of market values all proved challenging for the industry in 2019. But despite the tough environment, the used car market has shown its resilience as transactions remain stable, and prices held up over the year. With greater certainty following the General Election result in December, we are optimistic for a more positive outlook for 2020.

“There are some really positive trends to draw out in the market – continued strong performance of the premium segment, growing consumer interest in SUVs and the continuing rise of AFVs. AFVs and zero emission vehicles have grown in popularity over the last year and looking ahead, with the ongoing rhetoric around emissions and climate change, we expect this to continue on its upward trajectory. With 24 new EVs coming into the market in 2020, we may well see older models become more affordable in the used market soon.”

-ENDS-

*According to the FLA (Financing & Leasing Association)

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.

For more information, please visit https://plc.autotrader.co.uk/

Discover what we are doing to keep #consumers engaged with our platformin order to help #cardealers build their #salespipeline in our latest blog post from our COO Catherine Faiers - https://t.co/t4Sv4m9YjB #cornonavirus #consumerbehaviour https://t.co/7LTGzvyJSN
Join us for an Auto Trader Insights webinar where we will be discussing the current trends we are seeing across the #automotive market as we continue to navigate our way through the #coronavirus outbreak. https://t.co/AxxdZtR7i0 https://t.co/uzTeeCtzHm
On yesterday's customer webinar we highlighted that whilst consumers might not be able to visit dealerships, a variety of metrics indicate there's still consumer demand. If you missed the session, which included @ASE_Global's @mikejonesase, catch up here https://t.co/7qLr0Tz3hT https://t.co/LBGALeheWT
We brought forward the launch of our new #marketintelligence tool, AT Market Insight, to ensure #cardealers can keep up with the changing market conditions in these turbulent times. Discover how you can use this new tool now in our latest blog post. https://t.co/50K8rBG2Xi https://t.co/Cc3rZFAk8f
30 minutes left until today's webinar! Register now to hear the latest advice on what options #cardealers have during #coronavirus. Even if you cant make it we will send you the recording https://t.co/vr0dwQTD3J https://t.co/VuIea3MFoK
Have you signed up to our next weekly webinar? We'll be talking through what options #cardealers have amidst the #coronavirus. Tune in tomorrow at 10am and if you can't make it, sign up and we will send you the recording. https://t.co/vr0dwQTD3J https://t.co/omXRjB386q
Last week our #Data & #Insight Director, @therickw joined our webinar to talk retailers through key market observations he had made. Well, we’ve invited him back to share another update to see if the story has changed. https://t.co/KcGC6O2nom https://t.co/AcvcSqSpo1
Great to see people coming up with innovative ways of keeping busy during #lockdown... https://t.co/sv7G0osaLd
Start the week off right with @MarcThornboroug's latest tips on practical things retailers can be doing now to help build that #salespipeline whilst #workingremotely https://t.co/NKxMkK5qbv https://t.co/xpYaTQbWfo
In next week's webinar, we'll be asking our expert panel 'What options do retailers have amidst COVID-19?' Discussions will include furlough for employees & funding for self-employed retailers. Submit your questions when you register: https://t.co/fifT2NvFOB https://t.co/u6YMY1HQB4

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