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Could Auto Trader data indicate a post-lockdown car sales boom?

Auto Trader chief executive, Nathan Coe

Auto Trader has reported a 1.6 million uplift in the volumes of visitors to its online car marketing platform and record consumer confidence amid KPIs which could indicate another post-lockdown sales boom.

Signs that pent-up demand among car buyers was being seen on the platform came in the form of a 3% rise in monthly visitors, to 53.6 million, and the results of a customer survey which showed consumers' confidence in being able to afford their next car was at its highest ever level – 8.68-out-of-10.

In total, 45% of those surveyed by Auto Trader said they were more confident than they were a year ago, up from 43% in December, and 45% felt about the same.

Auto Trader chief executive, Nathan Coe, said: “Whilst we appreciate not every retailer is seeing the same positive levels of activity, it’s very reassuring to see and to hear anecdotally from many of our retailer partners that businesses are performing consistently way above the levels we saw during the first lockdown and at similar levels to the second.

“If the restrictions remain as is, we expect this level of transactions to continue, and potentially strengthen towards the end of the lockdown as we’ve seen previously.

“Overall, much as we saw when exiting the two previous lockdowns, we’re feeling confident the market will be in a robust position once the restrictions are lifted.”

Auto Trader’s research – conducted among 1,000 site visitors – also revealed the growing importance of car ownership as a result of COVID, with 49% of respondents stating that owning a car is more important to them now than before the pandemic.

Over 11% of on-site users intend to buy a car specifically to avoid public transport, Auto Trader said.

A year-on-year increase of over 7% in the average value of a used car for sale via the Auto Trader platform marked 10 months of consecutive price growth, meanwhile.

An average of 2,359 car retailers made daily price adjustments – 107 fewer than a year earlier, and below the pre-lockdown average of 2,500 to 3,000 – with a total of 16,775 vehicles repriced during the week.

The average price reduction was £303, which is at the lower end of the scale, Auto Trader reported.

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