Car dealers are currently trading at around 75 per cent of normal levels, revealing a strong market bounce back, new data from Auto Trader suggests.
The company says its seen increased audience activity on its marketplace, which last week saw 15.2m cross platform visits – up 10.3 per cent on the same period last year and up 6.5 per cent week-on-week.
Auto Trader said that with an 8.5 per cent increase in advert views, and an average of 1.4m unique users every day last week, this ‘strong level of consumer engagement’ resulted in a circa 31.3 per cent year-on-year (YoY) increase in the number of leads being sent to dealers.
Dealers are now trading at around 75 per cent of normal levels – up from 65 per cent in January.
It added customers were expecting the news that forecourts will fully re-open in the coming weeks and have gradually been increasing activity.
On-site research conducted on February 23 suggested that for 73 per cent of the circa 800 consumers intending to buy in the next 12 months, the announcement of forecourts reopening hadn’t made any impact on their planned purchase timeline. Just 11 per cent said it had made them want to delay their purchase, with six per cent saying they were now planning to buy sooner.
Auto Trader research also revealed consumers’ confidence in being able to afford their next car remains very high (8.43/10), and ahead of confidence levels recorded pre-pandemic (8.11/10 in January 2020). For those looking to buy in the next two weeks, levels are even higher (8.67/10).
Auto Trader chief executive officer, Nathan Coe, said: ‘We are seeing early signs of a strong consumer recovery from the latest lockdown.
‘It’s clear that consumers are getting more comfortable with the current buying options available and are anticipating physical forecourts fully opening in the coming weeks. We have seen this in both a step up in our audience performance and our proxy sold data.
‘It is critical that retailers are showcasing all of their stock online to maximise current online sales opportunities now, and to ensure that buyers who prefer to wait a few weeks can begin to make their buying decisions.
‘We know April sales come from consumers searching in February and March and with the additional impetus from the plate change we can expect this to be even more pronounced this year.’
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