Topic: CarGurus data
Consumers are more excited about driving assistance features than self-driving cars, according to new CarGurus research
We last surveyed consumers on their attitudes toward autonomous vehicles (AVs) in 2019. This year, we checked in to see if their excitement had grown. The short answer? No. While most have gotten more comfortable with the idea of self-driving cars, overall excitement for them has remained relatively flat. AVs are a huge leap in technology, according to shoppers, but the majority aren’t convinced the pros outweigh the cons, especially with regard to safety.
Here, we break down three key findings from our latest Self-Driving Vehicle Sentiment Survey conducted in April and what they mean for dealers.
From budget to reliability to look and feel and more, a lot of decisions go into buying a car for today’s consumers. To get a pulse on what matters most to them, we surveyed a combination of new and used shoppers—over 500 in total—and analyzed the data in the recent CarGurus Reliability Survey.
With vaccine rollout happening across the country and Covid restrictions easing in many states, car shoppers have continued to search for and research vehicles online through it all. To see which cars sat at the top of shoppers’ wish lists, we dug into our search data from the first quarter. In particular, we looked at which makes and models were the most searched on CarGurus in each US state.
As electric vehicles (EVs) continue to gain popularity in the US, this topic has taken on a heightened focus throughout the auto industry. In February, CarGurus surveyed 1,097 automobile owners in the US to get a pulse on their sentiments towards EVs. Overall, 30% of respondents noted that they were probably or definitely likely to own an EV in the next five years – a number that has doubled since 2018. And while Tesla is the trusted leader in tech development, consumers are increasingly open to other brands when it comes time to go electric.
In this emerging space, buyers are excited by the possibilities and less brand loyal, so there are opportunities for more competitors to disrupt the market. For dealers, now is the time to get ahead of the demand curve and start having conversations about electric vehicles with prospective buyers.
Below we’ve highlighted four key dealer takeaways from the study. For a summary of the results, download the CarGurus 2021 Electric Vehicle Report here.
For the past two years, CarGurus has surveyed pickup truck owners on their sentiments towards the category, its brands, and its vehicles. This year, we conducted an iteration of the study in early February before the coronavirus shutdowns and benchmarked it with one in September. What we found is that the Covid-19 pandemic has spurred demand, especially among younger car shoppers, but affordability concerns remain in the category.
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.
As a follow-up to the Consumer Sentiment Study we presented in April, CarGurus surveyed an additional 779 shoppers in June to see how their feelings toward car shopping have changed during the pandemic. Overall, the study shows that despite lingering near-term delays in car purchases, most sales are not expected to be lost in the long term. Here are the key takeaways for dealers – or you can read the full report here.
Since the last week of March, most people in America (if not the world) have seen their life change in some way, shape, or form because of COVID. One such change has been consumer’s driving habits. For many, the daily commute has been eliminated along with frequent trips to the store, gym, school, childcare facility, etc. While many, if not most, will eventually return to their previous driving habits, the current decrease in driving and increase in staying home has the potential to impact shopping activity. In particular, I wondered about how such a significant shift in consumer behavior might be influencing shoppers’ search behavior for vehicles.
To answer this question, I looked at new vehicle search volume on CarGurus for the first half of 2020 and compared it to the search volume we saw for the same criteria in 2019.
Pent-up demand, stimulus checks, and the hope that we are past wave one of COVID-19 has spurred the recovery of US leads on CarGurus. Total lead volume is now above early-February levels.
However, not every sector of the vehicle market has seen the same recovery. For example, we know that demand for higher-priced vehicles has returned quicker than lower-priced vehicles, but each vehicle segment has behaved differently. Most notably, the electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) segments.
While I personally think we’re weeks, if not months, away from knowing exactly how long the economy will take to fully rebound, consumers are coming back—and they’re submitting leads. In fact, U.S. leads* on CarGurus are almost at the same level they were at the start of February. Yes, February generally represents a smaller share of units sold than March and April, but the fact that consumer interest is trending up this early is a positive sign.
While total U.S. lead volume on CarGurus has nearly returned to the same level as February, lead volume varies by price bucket, and I’ll dig deeper into this below.