• Only 4% who were planning to buy this year before the pandemic have now delayed their plans indefinitely
  • More than eight in ten who plan to buy in 2020 are researching their next car purchase now
  • Nearly half of public transport and ride-sharing users expect to decrease or cease use when lockdown lifts
  • Of those many expect to increase usage of current vehicle, purchase a replacement or buy an additional car

London, UK, 5th May 2020 – Most consumers in the market to purchase a car before the pandemic hit are still intending to do so after lockdown restrictions are lifted, according to a new study by CarGurus.

CarGurus, the fastest growing online automotive marketplace in the UK*, released a new study on consumer sentiment during COVID-19, based on a survey of British consumers who either planned to purchase a vehicle before the pandemic hit, or those that are now planning on purchasing a vehicle this year.

Overall, the CarGurus COVID-19 UK Consumer Sentiment Study shows signs that pent up demand among UK car buyers could be a bright spot for the automotive sector as only 4% who were planning to buy this year before the pandemic have now delayed their plans indefinitely.

Many buyers are likely to return to the market sooner than expected with nearly a quarter (24%) wanting to purchase as soon as lockdown restrictions are lifted, while 84% of those who plan to buy in 2020 are actively researching now.

While it’s clear there’s still appetite to buy, this does not mean that consumers are not concerned about the impact of the pandemic on buying. In fact, economic uncertainty (30%), dealership closures (32%) and believing their purchase is putting people at risk (26%) were cited as some of the barriers to buying right now. But for many, a vehicle purchase is essential: nearly two thirds of buyers (64%) reported that their vehicle purchase was necessary. There may also be a shift in consumers now looking to buy a used car or approved used car, as 37% of those who had initially planned to buy new now plan to buy used or approved used.

Social distancing practices may also be driving a change of attitude towards public transport and ride sharing, which may have a knock-on effect to car-buying habits.

Nearly half (48%) of those who previously used ride-sharing or taxi services expect to decrease or cease use of them when economic activity resumes. As a result, 53% of those expect to increase usage of their own car, while 52% expect to purchase a vehicle to replace their current vehicle or buy an additional car.

Respondents were also equally unsure about using public transport. Again, nearly half (44%) of those who previously used public transport expect to decrease or cease usage, and among them 32% expect to drive their car more, while 32% expect to purchase a vehicle to meet their transportation needs.

“There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on the automotive industry, but our study shows it’s not all bad news for the sector,” said Madison Gross, Director of Customer Insights at CarGurus. “Many consumers are still planning to buy a vehicle quickly when the lockdown ends. And in a strange twist, concerns about public transport and ride-sharing may actually drive new demand.”

The CarGurus COVID-19 Sentiment Study’s full findings can be downloaded here and any questions about the analysis can be sent to ukpr@cargurus.com

Visit CarGurus at www.cargurus.co.uk, read the latest reviews, tips and advice on the UK blog and the UK YouTube channel.