Press release

New car registrations | April 2021

Auto Trader's commercial director, Ian Plummer, shares his thoughts on the latest new car registrations from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

Ian Plummer, Commercial Director, Auto Trader

Given the challenges the industry has faced over the last 12 months, and the fact retailers were only able to fully reopen halfway through the month, April’s performance is a respectable result and strengthens our confidence in a solid and sustained return to market health.

 “Following the reopening of physical forecourts on the 12th, we saw levels of consumer demand on Auto Trader accelerate significantly last month, increasing 37% on April 2019. The number of visits to our marketplace saw a similar boost, growing 36%. Over 1.6 million people viewed a new car in April alone, resulting in our second highest number of new car leads being sent to retailers.

“Encouragingly, in addition to these metrics, wider economic factors suggest this performance won’t be limited to a short surge. Not only is the Bank of England set to raise its growth forecasts for the UK when it publishes its latest monetary policy report on Thursday, but in April the GFK consumer confidence index rose to its highest level since the start of the pandemic. This aligns to our own research which shows that consumers' confidence in being able to afford their next car remains very high, and significantly ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

 “It's not surprising the reopening of showrooms has had an extremely positive effect. However, whilst consumers clearly still place huge value on the showroom experience and many prefer to complete their purchase in person, most of the digital-first behaviours we observed during lockdown have continued. Most people favour a blended retail experience, which includes significantly more digital touchpoints than before. Crucially, this is something consumers appear set to continue with, so genuine success over future months will be reserved for those who embrace the digital tools that served them so well during lockdown to help deliver a seamless online-offline experience.

 “Last month also marked another significant leap forward for pure electric vehicles with more sold in April than in all of 2018; on our marketplace one in every seven visitors looked at an electric option during their car search. This huge demand has been boosted by the rapid growth in choice; the number of distinct models in the market and on our site has doubled in the last year, and equally choice of available stock of new and used EVs has tripled. Whilst conversion from consideration to purchase remains relatively low, we have no doubt the levels of adoption will accelerate significantly as they become more affordable and the required infrastructure improves.” 

Over 75% of all time spent on UK automotive sites is spent on Auto Trader. 20% more leads were delivered to retailers in 2021 than in 2020, a sign of strong buyer intent and the ever-increasing importance of online in the buying process. https://t.co/AySv9w7RwG
Over 75% of all time spent on UK automotive sites is spent on Auto Trader. 20% more leads were delivered to retailers in 2021 than in 2020, a sign of strong buyer intent and the ever-increasing importance of online in the buying process. https://t.co/YiU38W6Vc5
Our CEO Nathan Coe will be live on next week's webinar to answer your questions. You can submit your questions to him in the comments and when you register to join the webinar live at https://t.co/rdtNiD8APu https://t.co/d99VfhPofQ
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2021 was a record year for new electric vehicles on our marketplace which saw a record number of advert views in 2021, with 1 in 5 new car advert views now for an electric vehicle. What EVs do you think we'll see drawing the most attention in 2022? https://t.co/niblnnJaPl
Looking to evolve your business by breaking free of outdated data feeds and enabling your customers to have a real-time view of your digital forecourt? Then check out our ‘Essentials to connected retailing’ masterclass now 👉 https://t.co/VggO5GDvFa https://t.co/hRUW9aXDTf
We’re still faced with an element of uncertainty when it comes to the pandemic which means you need to be prepared for any eventuality. So in this week’s tip of the week, @AndrewKorpela shares some top tips on how to make sure you're prepared for whatever is thrown at you next. https://t.co/9cKawLT6Q9
In his latest update, our CEO Nathan Coe shares our latest market insights, including an analysis of consumer demand and pricing, and reveals our plans for 2022. https://t.co/oyxwpJf2U1
With record numbers of new electric vehicle sales and, as we reveal in our latest blog, an electric vehicle being the fastest selling of any used vehicle in 2021, last year really was a victory for voltage 👇 https://t.co/j4Al3nByBL
In our latest Monthly Market Intelligence Report, we analyse the 3 key trends that came to define the automotive industry in 2021, record demand, the growth in used car prices and the acceleration of EV adoption 👉https://t.co/tVW6vpQjxm Will these trends continue through 2022? https://t.co/rITl15odBm

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