Topic: industry insights
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:
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.
In around 10 minutes CarGurus Director of Economic and Industry Analysis George Augustaitis discusses what’s going on in the new vehicle market. Watch this video to learn:
- How new vehicles in different price buckets are recovering
- Where shoppers who’ve left the new vehicle market are going
- What you can do to adapt to today’s unique selling environment
Automotive sales, both used and new, typically follow a seasonal sales pattern. The first sales spike of the year occurs in March and is fueled by a combination of factors, including economic tailwinds (tax refunds and annual bonus payments) and increased OEM spend on incentives as brands close the fiscal year or react to the competition. CarGurus US used lead submission data has always followed a similar seasonality path.
However, it should come as no surprise that COVID-19 has completely changed seasonality in the markets. This year, lead submissions fell off a cliff at the end of March, with nearly every state hitting a low between March 27 and April 11. During that time period, jobless claims climbed to all-time highs, consumer sentiment fell 17.3 points to 71.8, and other economic indicators saw major disruption. Additionally, companies completed first rounds of layoffs, and businesses like dealerships shut down in many places due to state restrictions. All of this uncertainty and turmoil, plus the risk of contracting the virus, contributed to the steep decline in leads and sales.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The data shows that most states rebounded quickly after reaching their trough with lead submissions beginning to recover mid-April and continuing until the middle of June. However, state-by-state recovery has been as unique as each state’s handling of COVID-19.
Heading into the third quarter of the year, there are still questions about what recovery will look like for the automotive industry. In two recent Auto News articles, George Augustaitis, CarGurus’ Director of Industry and Economic Analysis, shared his analysis and insights into what he expects to see in the coming months. Check out the full articles below:
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a sweeping impact on the economy. Almost overnight, it brought businesses across the country to a near halt, resulting in a record number of jobless claims and a recession unlike any other.
In this presentation, I’ll take a look at many of the unique factors—decreased consumer confidence, supply chain disruption, and increasing pent-up demand—that continue to make this COVID-19-driven economic downturn so unique. I’ll also cover how the recession continues to evolve and what it means for the auto industry.
It’s the most expensive 30-second advertising spot on television. For Hyundai’s luxury vehicle brand, Genesis, the cost was well worth it. CarGurus’ Director of Automotive Industry and Economic Analysis, George Augustaitis, spoke to Adweek about Genesis’ brand lift on CarGurus immediately after their commercial aired during the big game. Check out the full Adweek article to read more.
Luxury vehicle sales have been consistently posting strong growth, and it turns out much of that growth may be attributed to first-time buyers, according to findings from the 2019 CarGurus Buyer Insights Report. About three in ten luxury car buyers said that before their most recent purchase, they had never bought a car.
Remember the headlines a few years back that Millennials were delaying buying a car? It seems that now that they’re ready to buy, they don’t want just any car, but rather an aspirational one. Our research found that first-time buyers in luxury are, on average, 29 years old. Additionally, among first-time buyers in luxury: