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Online used car activity suggests market rebound, says iVendi

James Tew, iVendi

Analysis of online activity over the last seven days indicate a potential rebound for the used car retail market.

Online retail technology provider iVendi says there is a “definite uptick” in online activity as consumers research their next car purchase during the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown.

Using data from the across the dealers who use its systems, the company reports that a variety of key metrics indicate the first signs of a potential rebound.

James Tew, chief executive at iVendi, said: “While it is important to be extremely circumspect in the current situation, there has been a definite uptick in activity over the last few days. During the end of March and the beginning of April, we saw extreme lows and there are now signs of some metrics heading back towards normality."

The iVendi dataset showed that web site visits to view specific used cars, vans and motorcycles during the last seven days are running at 40% compared to the average during January and February, having fallen as low as 33% at the end of March.

Online eligibility checks – which allow a customer to see their chances of being accepted for motor finance - over the last seven days are now 66% of the January/February average, compared to a low of 34%.

The volume of motor finance applications completed online over the last seven days, meanwhile, are now running at 54% - compared to a low of 22%.

As car retailers begin to contemplate their recovery strategy following the current health crisis, iVendi has offered car retailers its latest and most advanced car sales platform product free of charge in a bid to mitigate the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown. 

This followed National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) advice, now confirmed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that car dealers can sell vehicles online and deliver vehicles to customers, as long as transactions are completed “in a manner that is safe and compliant with all coronavirus related health and safety requirements”.

Commenting on iVendi's findings, Tew said: “Certainly, a relatively large number of people are looking at cars, vans and motor cycles and checking themselves for finance eligibility, and we see those as encouraging signs, even if they are not yet translating into many sales.

“However, perhaps the key statistic is that payouts by motor finance companies are currently running at less than 5% of the January/February level, with many of them committed to only approving essential workers at the moment.

"With the practicalities of used vehicle dealers effectively returning to work through online sales very much a hot industry topic at the moment, this may or may not remain the norm.”

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