Auto Trader reports virtually no change in used car prices during the current pandemic

Being on lockdown you would expect the used car market to suffer, yet used car sellers aren’t budging on price.

Auto Trader have been analysing their data and have come to a few conclusions. They assume that consumers are still raring to go out and buy a used car and will likely do so once the lockdown has been lifted. This could be why retailers have been advised to not budge on price.

Used Car Prices Have Somehow Remained Stable

At a glance, it may seem like interest for buying used cars has hit rock bottom due to the sudden drop in enquiries. However, although no one is visiting showrooms at the moment (or people’s driveways in the cases of individual sellers) that does not mean people aren’t still looking for used cars.

For March, the Auto Trader Retail Price Index saw virtually no change at just -0.2%.

Used Car Prices Have Somehow Remained Stable

Approximately 12,000 price changes occur daily on Auto Trader and yet, after the lockdown was announced on March 23rd, the average fell to around 5,885.

Also, after the lockdown was announced, the last week of March showed an 8% year-on-year increase in the number of vehicles that were ‘saved’ for users to consider buying. Auto Trader also reported an increase in adverts viewed per user session, meaning people were viewing more vehicles during their time on the site.

Used Car Prices Have Somehow Remained Stable

It gets more interesting with the results of research recently carried out between March 27th and April 1st, where a sample of 450 car buyers were asked about how recent events may change their car purchasing behaviour.

88% of participants said they would spend the same amount of time or more in researching their next car purchase. Only 4% said that they were no longer looking to buy a car, suggesting that very few people have lost interest in their next car purchase due to the hand that Coronavirus has dealt us.

Auto Trader have been looking at their datasets closely and not only are they suggesting that all is going well for the used car market at the moment but are also saying that once the Government’s isolation restrictions are lifted, buyers will be out in full force and be very eager to snap up a new ride for themselves.

Used Car Prices Have Somehow Remained Stable

“There’s no question the industry is facing a huge pressure, but to ensure we can return to health as quickly as possible; we urge retailers to resist the temptation to reduce prices. Many of our indicators suggest the market is capable of picking back up almost where we left off before the COVID-19 pandemic shook the industry, and we must be ready for when the Government restrictions lift.”

Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s Data and Insight Director

“Despite consumers being unable to visit physical forecourts, they’re still visiting and engaging with digital showrooms. We can see that not only are they saving their favourite vehicles and using this time to research their next car, but they’re also making enquiries. It’s therefore more important than ever that retailers are visible online to capture this consumer demand and be ready to engage with potential customers. By doing so, they’ll be in the very best position for when they can reopen their doors.”

Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s Data and Insight Director
Used Car Prices Have Somehow Remained Stable

Furthermore, the consumers fortunate enough to have not lost their jobs during this crisis may also have been busy saving up, preparing to purchase their next car. With most of us being in strict lockdown during this time, a lot of people will be eager to leave the house and once we’re allowed, you may find car buyers heading straight to a viewing of their next car!

Let us know if you’re in the same boat and have been busy with non-stop car browsing online!

If you enjoyed this, you should read about this really weird car called the Citroen Ami.

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