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Consumers expect more for trade-ins - just as values reach seasonal low

Wizzle founder Sébastien Duval

Analysts at Wizzle have identified a December ‘double whammy’ which sees consumers hoping to get more for their car than usual – just as the real value falls to its lowest point in the year.

Crunching the numbers for cars sold between October and the week before Christmas, Wizzle found that the gap between sellers’ expectations and the final price they actually sell for grows to almost 5%.

Sébastien Duval, founder of Wizzle, said: “Even though it is well known in the industry that the car market slows down toward the end of the year we were intrigued to find that the price expectations of our sellers actually rise on the approach to Christmas.

“We think this is because most of us feel financially pressured by the cost of presents and festive celebrations.

“It’s possible we psychologically turn those Christmas cost worries into a hope that our car might be worth a bit more than we’d normally expect, just as it becomes worth a bit less.”

Wizzle found that the difference between what motorists hoped to sell for and the final price they received was just -0.7% in October.

During November – as the used car market began to slow, as usual for the time of year – that gap grew to 4%, however, and by Christmas week that difference had stretched to 6% - even though the actual market value they were receiving was only 1% less than they would have achieved two months earlier.

Compared with Wizzle’s independent predicted values, provided by experts Cap HPI, analysts found that dealers began reducing their offers in November, in-line with the rest of the market, such as at auctions and in forecourt trade-in negotiations.

Duval added: “The good news for everyone is that the market takes off again in January and all the experts say the early part of 2017 looks set to be especially busy in the new and used car markets.

“We expect strong dealer enthusiasm for buying cars from consumers not long after the festive season as they will be busy replacing all their sold stock during the January upturn.”

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