Press release

Auto Trader Retail Price Index | November 2019

Abundance of used petrol vehicles in the market puts pressure on prices

  • Searches across Auto Trader are up 10% year-on-year indicating interest remains high
  • Used diesels holding value despite negative rhetoric
  • Limited supply of AFVs continue to drive price growth

According to the latest results from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index the average price of a used car in the UK was £13,322 in November, up from £12,567 during the same period in 2018. However, removing the impact of stock mix (changes in the types of vehicle entering or leaving the market), on a like-for-like basis prices are contracting at a rate of -3.5%.  

Revealingly, at 6.9%, the level of stock mix impacting last month’s average prices was at its highest since April 2018 (7.4%). It reflects a wave of more expensive vehicles entering the market, such as SUVS and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), which are in turn pushing average prices up.

The impact of supply and demand

Supply and demand are also a factor, especially amongst second-hand low emission cars. Not only have the number of searches for pure electric vehicles (EVs) on Auto Trader increased 73% since November 2018, but the Renault ZOE was identified as 2019’s fastest selling used car; the first EV to top the list. However, despite their popularity, pure electric currently represent just 0.5% of all vehicles advertised on the Auto Trader marketplace, compared to 52% petrol and 45% diesel. As a result, the average sticker price of used EVs continue to grow at a far higher rate than their ICE counterparts; in November the average cost was £24,820, equating to a significant like-for-like increase of 16.6%.

For AFVs more broadly (including EVs), prices averaged at £22,115 in November; a 4.9% like-for-like increase on the same period last year. Underpinning the growing consumer appetite for greener engines, Auto Trader data reveals AFVs were the fastest selling  fuel type for retailers  last month, taking an average of just 52 days to leave UK forecourts, versus 55 for petrol and 56 for diesel.

Newer petrol cars driving prices down

The Index shows that average used petrol prices are contracting at the highest rate annually: -4.7% (£11,967) like-for-like. A more granular view of the data reveals that second-hand petrol cars aged up to one year are largely responsible for driving their overall price down, declining at a like-for-like rate of -8.9% in November. Indicative of the ‘overheating’ in the market, on Auto Trader there are 64,508 petrol vehicles of this age: 77% more than diesel (36,453) and a huge 4975% more than EVs (1,271).  

On a more general level, despite the demonisation of diesel, used prices of this fuel type have largely flattened out. At £14,374, average prices are decreasing at an average of just -0.2% like-for-like.

Commenting on the findings, Ian Plummer, Auto Trader’s commercial director, said: “The scale of our data provides us with a clear view of the influence the various market forces are having on used car prices, not least supply and demand. The sustained anti-diesel rhetoric we’ve seen over the last few years has had a profound effect on the overbalance of used petrol vehicles in the market, which is impacting both prices and sales. That same negative rhetoric, which forced retailers to offer enticing deals on diesels, has helped drive a resurgence in their popularity, which isn’t only reflected in the latest quarterly sales figures, but in their average sticker price too.

“These same factors are having a profound effect on low emission vehicles. Whether new car registrations, used car sales, search or speed of sale, every metric indicates a growing appetite for electric. However, with EVs representing such a small share of the current market and a question mark hanging over the impact Brexit will have on the supply of second generation EVs into the UK, it’s highly unlikely average prices will be dropping any time soon.”

Search volumes point to healthy consumer appetite  

Evidence shows that despite economic uncertainty, consumers’ search behaviours haven’t wavered. Searches across Auto Trader are up 10% year-on-year, suggesting interest remains high but lower consumer confidence means car buyers are taking longer to choose their next vehicle than they otherwise would.

The percentage of fuel type altered again in November. Petrol cars are most popular, accounting for half (50%) of all searches by fuel type, up from 48% the previous month. Searches for diesel cars accounted for 42% (down from 43% in October) while searches for AFVs remains the same at 8%.         

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.

Missed this week's webinar with special guest @vertumotors? Well fear not - the whole webinar is now available on demand at https://t.co/A8vB2i49FU https://t.co/fpMbEkaRgB
Driving long distances? Well the best car for the job is the @UKVolkswagen Golf which scooped the Best Car for Long Distances award at the Auto Trader New Car Awards 2020. Find out what owners said at https://t.co/TAtdeRojpZ https://t.co/4Sj9ANaFK6
For those looking for a 7 seater you can do no better than the @VolvoCarUK #XC90. That's according to the 181,000 car owners who voted it the best 7 seater in this year's Auto Trader New Car Awards! https://t.co/M7t1X3Ic9S https://t.co/csJOtcU63N
Exactly one week ago @MrRoryReid & @ErinBakerMotors announced the winners of the Auto Trader New Car Awards – revealing the best #newcars in the UK according to over 181,000 car owners! You can check out the #award winners at https://t.co/FMgf5HByCM #ThrowbackThursday https://t.co/CLdSORmOV0
Exactly one week ago when @MrRoryReid & @ErinBakerMotors announced the winners of the Auto Trader New Car Awards – revealing the best #newcars in the UK according to over 181,000 car owners! You can check out the #award winners at https://t.co/FMgf5HByCM #ThrowbackThursday https://t.co/SAFHIczDhl
#Dacia have done it once again! The @daciauk Duster once again won the Best Value New Car at the Auto Trader New Car Awards 2020 - an award they also took home in 2019! https://t.co/vf00Z0g60W https://t.co/rn5qZX59Gh
We've seen a record number of #newcar and van #leads with new car retailers enjoying a massive 91% monthly increase in leads! Discover the latest new car data and how to drive even more leads as we see demand continue to spike now > https://t.co/8l2Mkx0ldn
Big thanks to everyone who joined today's webinar and of course to our guest speaker @vertumotors!
Reminder that next week we'll be launching #ATHighlyRated! Retailers who met the criteria will be receiving a pack next week to promote their achievements to consumers. https://t.co/UJgS71ytoP
Over to @stuart_trader who reveals the result of our earlier poll - a majority discounting prices much less or maintaining pre-#covid19 approach https://t.co/t8PfkUzrtU

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