Nearly half of all in-market buyers set to visit a showroom in the next two weeks

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 3000 users.

Now that showrooms are open in England and Wales, retailers can finally start to interact with customers in person and start the long road to recovery.

To find out how busy dealers can expect to find themselves over the coming weeks, we surveyed how quickly in-market buyers are expecting to return to showrooms, and what their intentions will be when they visit a dealer.

Our latest research of 3031 in-market buyers found that 29% are intending to visit a showroom “as soon as they can”, while 17% are expecting to visit within 1-2 weeks. This means nearly half of all in-market buyers are set to make a trip to a showroom in the next two weeks.

The really good news for retailers is that 42% of visitors are doing so to buy a car, which is another sign of busy weeks ahead. A third of buyers will visit to test drive a car they’re interested in, while 12% are looking to negotiate a price or a finance package.

Dealerships reopening has been an important milestone for the industry, as 59% of buyers tell us it was “very important” for showrooms to reopen, as they would not buy a car without a visit to their local retailer. Despite the growth in online sales over the past 12 months, only 6% of buyers felt showrooms reopening was not important to them.

Buyers also tell us they are comfortable visiting their local showroom, with 96% trusting dealers to be run in a Covid-safe way. This is nearly identical to the response rate in February, when we asked the same question, and shows the degree to which consumers trust showroom staff and retailers to operate safely.

With consumer trust in dealers so high, and the majority of active buyers looking to visit a showroom soon, the coming days promise to be hugely significant to the entire industry.

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