Tiny number of new car buyers have paused purchasing plans during second lockdown

Time 10:17 am, November 23, 2020

Only a small amount of car buyers have paused their plans to buy a new vehicle during lockdown, according to new research.

What Car? found the number of buyers looking to purchase ‘within four weeks’ dropped just four per cent in the first two weeks of November.

Some 16 per cent of active new car buyers on the What Car? platforms were looking to buy within a month in November, a drop from just over 20 per cent in September and October.

Jim Holder, editorial director of What Car? publishers Haymarket Automotive, said it’s pleasing to see demand still remains strong during the lockdown.

He said: ‘While there has been a reduction in interest from car buyers from the peak months into September, demand does remain strong, with users of still marginally up year-on-year for the duration of November so far. 

‘Consumer interest is clearly there, while dealers have largely done an excellent job of communicating that they remain open for business even though their doors are closed.’

Car dealers have been operating click and collect and home delivery sales during the second lockdown and today were buoyed by news they will be allowed to open even under the toughest Tier 3 restrictions when they come in next week.

Holder added: ‘Inevitably, the reduction in demand comes from buyers who were looking to buy in the short-term, something lockdown has simply made harder. 

‘According to our weekly research of in-market customers, the average share of buyers looking to purchase within four weeks in September and October was 20.13 per cent. In November, following the lockdown announcement, this declined to 16.08 per cent.

‘Clearly the vast majority of buyers are comfortable with the prospect of shopping for their next vehicle predominantly online. 

‘What will be interesting to see from the registration figures is whether they complete a transaction during this time, or whether they wait until doors open again to visit dealerships.

‘While nobody expects the surge of interest there was in June, all our data suggests that when conditions allow there will be a healthy level of interest among car buyers.’

What Car? New Car Buying won this year’s Extra Mile Award at the Car Dealer Power Awards. Find out more about the win here.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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