Majority of England’s new car buyers will continue to shop during November lockdown

This is the latest report in a series of weekly updates for industry colleagues from Rachael Prasher, managing director of What Car? and Haymarket Automotive. Quoted poll data is from more than 5500 whatcar.com users.

More than three-quarters of people who were looking to buy a car in November will continue shopping despite the potential impact of England’s lockdown, according to new poll data from whatcar.com.

The poll of more than 5500 whatcar.com users revealed that 15.86% of in-market buyers are still looking to purchase a vehicle in the next four weeks – down from a typical 20% for the same time period, but still indicating strong levels of buyer intent as the majority of dealers look to sell on the phone and internet and offer ‘click-and-collect’ services.

The poll also revealed that 50% of those planning to buy in the next month were pulling forward their purchase, potentially as a result of England and Wales’s recent lockdowns, as they look to buy their new car as soon as possible in case of further restrictions.

While March’s lockdown resulted in a near-total freezing of any new car sales, the industry has subsequently embraced online sales, with the impetus provided by the pandemic accelerating online sales trends exponentially.

More than a third of respondents to the poll also said they were now more receptive to using online tools such as live video tours and live chat as part of the research process. Encouragingly, 29.74% of all respondents said they were more comfortable with the prospect of buying a car now than during the last round of showroom closures.

In October new car registrations were down by 1.6% in October according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), but the Welsh ‘fire-break’ lockdown said to have accounted for around half of the year-on-year shortfall.

For further insight from whatcar.com’s unique website data, please contact insights@haymarket.com