Auto Trader hits back at Times report: Online traffic has surged, it says

Time 8:57 am, March 19, 2015

Auto Trader AUTO TRADER today hit back at claims that online traffic has dropped by almost one-fifth in the past year.

The Times yesterday quoted online analytics company Eagle Alpha which said that, despite 34 months of consecutive growth in the UK car market, Auto Trader’s website traffic ‘had dropped by 19 per cent year-on-year’.

But today, Auto Trader said traffic has ‘surged’ from 360 million visits in the 2012 financial year to 525 million last year.

Growth of nearly 46 per cent has been driven by smartphones and tablets, it says.

Equity analyst at Eagle Alpha, Mike Bulter, had told The Times: ‘Some of the decline can be attributed to the increasing use of the company’s mobile app; however, the highlighted 19 per cent decline year-on-year is not solely the result of a move to mobile use.’

In a statement released today, Nathan Coe, director of product and technology, said: ‘Growth has been driven by a dramatic increase in the use of smartphone and tablets and 66 per cent of all visits to Auto Trader are now made on these mobile devices. That compares with just 34 per cent of site visitors who use a desktop computer.

‘Research that focuses on desktop site traffic cannot reflect the reality of a mobile-led site like Auto Trader and some figures quoted recently in the media have been very wide of the mark as a consequence.

‘In the end, though, what really matters is that we continue to deliver many times more consumers and leads to our customers than competitors. This remains our core focus and is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that 85 per cent of time spent looking at vehicle classified sites is spent on Auto Trader.

‘In February cross-platform full page ad views were 13 per cent higher than a year earlier. In an independent study commissioned by the company, this measure of traffic was found to be highly correlated with higher retailer vehicle sales.’

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Colin Channon's avatar

Colin is a former editor of Car Dealer. He left the magazine in August 2015.

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