The majority of consumers in the US have seen their life change in some way, shape, or form because of COVID-19. One example of this is people’s driving habits. Daily commutes have changed drastically for many and frequent trips to the store, gym, school, childcare facility, etc. are no longer the norm. Though many, if not most, will eventually return to their previous driving habits, the fact that people are staying home more and driving less has the potential to impact buying activity.
With this in mind, we wondered how such a significant shift in consumer behavior might influence shoppers’ search interest in vehicles this year. To answer this question, we analyzed used vehicle searches on CarGurus for the first half of 2020 and compared it to the used vehicle leads we saw for the same criteria in 2019.
Last year, CarGurus introduced the world to a new kind of automotive conference: Navigate. This year, we’re bringing it back—but it’s going virtual! Your safety is our priority, so we’re sharing all the information you need to adapt to today’s rapidly shifting landscape right to you online this year. Navigate will take place over the course of two days: October 26 & 27, 2020. You can still expect an all-star lineup of industry gurus, tech experts, and in-depth workshops you won’t get anywhere else.
For a deeper dive into the current state of the economy, it’s important to look beyond traditional economic and automotive data and look more generally at consumer behavior. In around eight minutes, I’ll walk you through the importance of a variety of indicators I’m keeping a pulse on, including:
- Gross movie sales
- OpenTable seated diners data
- Hotel occupancy rates
- TSA checkpoint data
- Gasoline consumption
- Public transportation turnstile entries
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, car dealers were already facing questions about what the future of the industry would look like. With consumers’ preferences changing and advancements in digital retailing strategies continuing to be made, many have been at least starting to think about tactics like online financing and home delivery. But the current health crisis has accelerated many of these trends, and today’s dealers must adapt to a new normal.
Like most businesses across the country, dealers have been taking more proactive steps to ensure consumers’ safety at the dealership, rearranging showroom layouts to support social distancing, increasing cleaning measures, and more. According to CarGurus COVID-19 Sentiment Study, among current prospective buyers, top expectations for dealer visits to purchase or service a vehicle include:
The current pandemic has had an economic impact on nearly every sector and the auto industry is no exception. It’s left many car dealers feeling the need to tighten their belts in terms of marketing spend. But whether you just had your strongest month yet or sales are a slow trickle at your dealership, your digital marketing investment should remain a priority.
Here are three mistakes you should avoid making with your marketing during today’s pandemic.
One of the most recent issues in the auto industry that’s come to light due to COVID-19 is the tightening of credit among banks. In under 15 minutes, I’ll discuss how these changes in financing and lending impact car shoppers—and what that means for dealers. Watch this video to learn:
Whether it’s due to a vehicle breaking down, a new commute, a growing family, or any number of reasons, a vehicle purchase is essential for many. That’s held true even during the current health crisis: 68% of those planning to buy this year cited the purchase as necessary, according to the CarGurus COVID-19 Sentiment Study in April. However, months later and our follow-up study found that about half (48%) of car shoppers aren’t as confident in their ability to afford a vehicle as a result of the pandemic.
As a result of consumers’ dwindling confidence, demand for financing is increasing. Before the pandemic, 49% of car buyers planned to finance their purchase. Now, 60% plan to or have already done so. Additionally, around one-third of those considering financing lost confidence in their ability to get approved (33%) and the financing rate they’d expect (34%).
As consumers emerge from lockdown, change travel plans, and reconsider what mobility will look like in the long-term, vehicles are becoming even more vital to everyday life, according to our latest COVID-19 Sentiment Study in the US. In fact, one-third of those surveyed said they expect to use their car more going forward than before the pandemic.
In the near-term, 49% of respondents say they see their car as an escape or for fun. Additionally, 45% say they expect to use their car for more road trips or longer drives, while 72% of those planning to travel this year say they intend to drive, rather than fly, for at least one trip.