Press release

Auto Trader Retail Price Index | November 2020

Lockdown has little impact on used car prices, as growth remains strong

 

According to the latest data from Auto Trader’s Retail Price Index, which is based on pricing analysis of circa 900,000 vehicles, the average price of a used car was £14,041 in November, which on a like-for-like basis is an 8.5% year-on-year (YoY) increase. Whilst prices have increased consecutively for eight months, the rate of growth eased very slightly last month, slowing from 8.6% in October.

The strong price performance reflects the high levels of consumer demand in the market. Despite the forecourt closures in England and tightening restrictions across the UK, there were 52.9 million visits to Auto Trader last month, which represents a 14.4% increase on November 2019. Underpinning the level of demand in the market, advert views increased 8.9% YoY, whilst the number of leads grew 20% above the same period last year, indicating lockdown has done little to slow buyers’ desire to purchase their next car.

Retailers hold firm with pricing

Testament to the strength of the market the number of retailers making price changes and the value of price adjustments remains lower than pre-COVID levels. Circa 2,145 retailers made price changes last month, which was 12% fewer than in November 2019 (2,444), whilst the average daily reduction was -£293; 8% less than the same time last year (-£317). The average number of cars being changed each day was 13,818, which is significantly fewer than the 17,500 – 24,000 adjusted during normal trading conditions.

Petrol price growth eases as supply overtakes demand

Looking at the pricing data on a more granular level, we can see the influence supply and demand dynamics have on used car prices. Last month the rate of growth for used petrol vehicles began to ease for the first time in 12 months, albeit marginally, slowing from 9.0% YoY in October to 8.8% (£12,682). It’s due in part to the supply of used petrol cars in the market (5.7% YoY) overtaking levels of consumer demand (0.2% YoY).

Conversely, whilst the levels of demand and supply for diesels both contracted in November, average prices continued their steep trajectory, increasing from 8.8% YoY in October to 9.2%. This is because whilst demand fell -6.7% YoY, the rate of contraction for supply was even steeper, dropping -7.8% on November 2019.  

Commenting on the results, Auto Trader’s director of data and insight, Richard Walker, said: “Despite thousands of retailers across the UK either having to close their forecourts or facing tighter restrictions, used car prices remain exceptionally strong, which even under normal trading conditions would be impressive. It’s particularly reassuring to see retailers hold firm with their pricing, reflecting a strong degree of confidence in the health of the market. We share retailers’ confidence and believe the outlook for the months ahead is positive. We’re continuing to see significant levels of consumer demand, in part driven by the growing aversion to public transport.”  

 Used hatchbacks and MPVs see largest sticker price growth

Like-for-like prices continued to show strong growth across all age groups in November, with those aged over 15 years recording the highest rate of growth at 17.5% YoY (£4,760). It was followed closely by vehicles aged between 10-15 years, increasing 17.0% (£4,503). Interestingly, the same age group (10-15 years) saw the biggest monthly drop in levels of demand, falling from a healthy 2.3% YoY in October, to -11.1% YoY in November.

All body types recorded an increase in average prices last month, with hatchbacks recording the highest rate of growth, up 12.5% YoY (£9,309), followed by MPVs, which grew 10.01% (£9,642). Despite the price growth however, demand for used hatchbacks fell -5.9% YoY, versus a 6.8% increase in supply. It marks the first-time levels of demand for hatchbacks have contracted since May of this year. SUVs continue their run as the most popular body type, with demand increasing 6.4% YoY (£19,214).

Both premium and volume brands saw average prices grow in November, increasing 8.3% YoY (£20,827) and 12.2% (£9,253) respectively. However, the rate of growth for volume cars eased slightly, slowing from 12.6% YoY in October, to 12.2% in November. As observed elsewhere in the market, this is due to the imbalance of supply and demand; demand for volume cars contracted for the first time in six months, dropping -10.3%, whilst supply did the opposite, increasing for the first time since May 2020.

 Sue Robinson, NFDA Chief Executive, added: “Despite the lockdown and additional restrictions facing dealers across the UK, it is encouraging that used car prices have remained buoyant in line with consumer demand. Positively, the number of retailers adjusting their stock as well as the volume of cars whose price is being adjusted are both significantly lower than pre-COVID 19 levels, which shows dealers’ resilience and confidence. We look forward to a strong December.”

 

-ENDS-

About the 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 hundreds of thousands of 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.

As of March 2020, the methodology for the Auto Trader Retail Price Index was adapted based on re-segmentation of our data. We have regrouped car segments into more meaningful classifications of the different types of vehicles that consumers buy, from an even greater depth of data than before. As we now have a more detailed dataset, we have restated figures for prior periods to reflect the change in methodology.

We've extended the deadline to complete our digital retailing survey being run in partnership with the @RMI_NFDA and ICDP. Complete the survey before Friday to receive a personalised benchmark report👉https://t.co/qjQqIedy43 https://t.co/N3CLR386Uz
Join our next webinar where we’ll be sharing how you can sell vehicles at pace, whilst extracting the most profit and ensuring you allow time to restock and optimise your forecourt. Register now👉https://t.co/5dI2g8GX3Z https://t.co/ZOfgM21yU7
What do Canadian Thanksgiving and @AndrewKorpela's appetite have to do with buying a car online? Find out in this week's tip of the week where we share some tips on how to grab the attention of a growing buyer segment. https://t.co/Eilwe3LhXm
The speed at which used cars sell continues to remain far below what we saw before the pandemic, with last months analysis showing that it took a median of just 24 days for used cars to sell, 3 days quicker than in August. https://t.co/nl83T3y2Wl
Fantastic news 🥳 A huge thank you to everyone that voted for us this year - we're very proud and delighted that our retailer partners have gotten so much value from our platform, particularity during such a challenging period for our industry https://t.co/0xXHDcYemG
COP26 has been dominating headlines over the last few weeks. But what exactly is it? What impact could it have on the automotive industry and why does it matter to you? https://t.co/nGyGxeZvzN
Find out how @HendyGroup, @LookersGroup, @westwaynissan and @PeterVardy are embracing the electric vehicle revolution and enticing consumers into making the switch👉https://t.co/o9S11O5QXS https://t.co/KU8wBqwOXH
In our latest market update, we share our latest audience data and look at whether we are continuing to see strong levels of demand from consumers. https://t.co/p2DSkN8cAv
It's Friday which can only mean 1 thing. It's tip of the week time! In this episode, @AndrewKorpela goes through the findings of the telephone phase of our mystery shopping and explains how you can make the most from a telephone enquiry. https://t.co/Mg0UtWa3aM
September was a month of records for the automotive industry. But we also saw some unexpected challenges and opportunities. Find out more in our latest Market Intelligence report which details our latest insights along with the impact of the fuel crisis👉https://t.co/blOWIg8ZY7 https://t.co/v7SZuYcRM4

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