The number of people shopping for a car increased markedly after England came out of November's 'lockdown 2', according to data analysed by Auto Trader.
In the week that car showrooms reopened (Dec 2-7) Auto Trader noted an average of 1.1 million people visited its online marketplace daily, representing 20% growth year-on-year.
And the volume of leads being sent to retailers from Auto Trader's advert pages rose by 19% in the same period; cars aged 1-5 years attracted particularly strong interest, as shown by a 27% increase in daily leads generated.
Richard Walker (pictured), Auto Trader’s data and insights director, said: “From the behaviours and trends we’re tracking on our marketplace, as well as the anecdotal feedback we’re hearing from our retailer partners, the latest restrictions have done little to dampen the levels of consumer demand. It’s very reassuring to see that as we approach the key sales period of the year, the market is in such a strong position.
“However, with 53% of January’s buyers researching for their next car in December, it’s critical retailers capitalise on the opportunity now, and ensure their stock is visible to the millions of car buyers visiting our marketplace.
"As part of our ongoing support to the industry in these exceptional circumstances, there’s no charge to advertise new or used cars on Auto Trader during December, so we urge all of our customers to give themselves the very best start to 2021 by showcasing all their available cars.”
Auto Trader said the traditional Q4 retail car market slowdown, as many consumers focus their spend on Christmas before looking to change their car in the new year, is evident when analysing activity on Auto Trader’s marketplace; between December 2019 and January 2020 the number of advert views increased 26%, average daily users 31%, visits 33%, time spent on site 35%, and leads sent to retailers 36%.
"With the market currently performing above last year’s levels, the outlook for the new year looks positive," the firm said.
And as used car prices remain strong versus 2019, Auto Trader said this highlights the profit margins available for dealers.