Auto Trader director, Ian Plummer, gives his thoughts on the Q3 2020 used car transactions data from the SMMT.
“As retailers in England enter another national lockdown, and businesses across the UK face increasingly tighter restrictions, growth in the used car market not only offers some much welcomed news, it also underlines the far better position the industry is in today compared to March.
“Despite an initial dip on the 25% year-on-year (YoY) increase in visits to Auto Trader in October, they returned to 19.1% YoY over the weekend, whilst leads being sent to retailers grew 34.5%. Car buyers may not be able to visit a forecourt in person, but demand remains exceptionally strong. In fact, in a survey of over 1,000 consumers last week, 57% said the new lockdown had made no impact on their decision to buy a car, and 7% said it made them want to purchase one even sooner.
“Retailers are also better prepared this time round, with the necessary infrastructure to continue selling in a meaningful way. Crucially, with click & collect and home delivery services permitted, many retailers are well placed to capitalise on the high demand. On Auto Trader we’ve made it easier for consumers to buy online from the safety of their own home, and search the circa 200,000 vehicles currently listed on our marketplace which are available to buy through these channels. And with 50% of car buyers saying they’re willing to buy via click & collect or home delivery, retailers should be able to continue Q3’s momentum into the new year.
“It’s promising to see sales of second-hand low emission vehicles increase over the quarter. However, whilst they do represent a growing opportunity for retailers, they still represent a small percentage of the total market, typically those who can afford their steeper price tag. It highlights that the government still has a long way to go in driving consumer adoption on a mass scale if it intends to bring forward the ban on selling internal combustion vehicles to 2030.”