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Car buyer confidence returning after last year’s woes, according to cargurus study

Car buyer confidence returning after last year’s woes, according to cargurus study

Car buyers’ confidence levels are at 12-month high when it comes to feeling like they can afford to purchase a car, according to leading automotive marketplace cargurus.

The findings come from cargurus’ latest Covid Sentiment Study which has revealed how the pandemic has shaped the UK public’s attitude to car buying.

Consumer confidence has seen a 20% rise in respondents who felt assured in their ability to afford a vehicle (77% in July 2021 vs 57% in June 2020).

There were a number of factors which have made buyers more likely to buy a car this year. Saved up money during lockdowns (24%) was the leading reason, while moving to a new house (22%) and getting a new job (19%) made up the top three motives.

Covid also seems to have sparked many car buyers into a purchase sooner than expected as 38% of 2021 buyers say the pandemic made them more interested in buying a vehicle this year.

In good news for dealers, respondents reported feeling much more comfortable with shopping in person this year than last, although on the whole consumers expect dealerships to continue taking precautions. Over half of buyers still expect face masks (56% for employees, 53% for customers), surface cleaning (56%), and social distancing (50%).

Longer-term, interest remains high in some of the most popular contactless services that arose from the pandemic, with large numbers of buyers interested in the continuation of dealership appointments (49%), at-home test drives (36%), solo test drives (34%), and at-home delivery (32%). The popularity of digital retail also showed no sign of abating, with 63% of respondents saying they’d prefer to carry out more of the car buying process from home for their next vehicle purchase.

With the safety of shared spaces under continued scrutiny, just 55% of public transport users said they planned on returning to services in the same capacity as pre-Covid within the next year, and only 57% long-term. The knock-on effect of such shifts in behavior was reflected in the 35% of respondents who said they plan on using their personal vehicles more going forward.

Madison Gross, Director of Consumer Insights at cargurus said: “It’s positive news for dealers that consumers are feeling more confident about purchasing a car and returning to dealerships. But clearly there’s still some understandable anxiety from some buyers about visiting a dealership. The results show dealers should continue to adopt rigid Covid precautions.

“It’s also clear the pandemic has changed how consumers buy a car. Dealers must continue to evolve their digital offering and ensure their contactless services such as at-home and solo test drives are running smoothly.”

Madison Gross, Director of Consumer Insights at cargurus said: “It’s positive news for dealers that consumers are feeling more confident about purchasing a car and returning to dealerships. But clearly there’s still some understandable anxiety from some buyers about visiting a dealership. The results show dealers should continue to adopt rigid Covid precautions.

“It’s also clear the pandemic has changed how consumers buy a car. Dealers must continue to evolve their digital offering and ensure their contactless services such as at-home and solo test drives are running smoothly.”

Cargurus recommendations for dealerships

Prioritise digital retail in your sales process. With most buyers wanting to do more of the process online, it's important that dealers are equipped to handle these preferences. Implement digital retail products that allow shoppers to take the transaction as far as they want – and make sure your staff is trained to handle this new online business.

Test new ways of acquiring inventory. You can't rely on auctions to keep your inventory stocked anymore. Consider investing in technology that allows you to acquire in-demand vehicles more efficiently in your local market, and perfect your trade-in process to keep your supply of used vehicles up. Price your cars fairly to attract buyers struggling to find an affordable new vehicle.

Continue to provide a safe, convenient buying process. The dealership experience is crucial to winning more sales and many buyers expect contactless services to stick around long term. Continue to offer services like dealership appointments, solo and at-home test drives and at-home delivery to ensure consumers feel comfortable shopping at your dealership.

*Article Source https://www.cargurus.co.uk/

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