The majority of consumers in Canada have seen their life change in some way, shape, or form because of COVID-19. One example of this is people’s driving habits. Daily commutes have changed drastically for many and frequent trips to the store, gym, school, childcare facility, etc. are no longer the norm. Though many, if not most, will eventually return to their previous driving habits, the fact that people are staying home more and driving less has the potential to impact buying activity.
As a result, I wondered how such a significant shift in consumer behaviour might influence shoppers’ search behaviour and interest in vehicles this year. To answer this question, I analyzed used vehicle leads on CarGurus for the first half of 2020 and compared it to the used vehicle leads we saw for the same criteria in 2019.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, car dealers were already facing questions about what the future of the industry would look like. With consumers’ preferences changing and advancements in digital retailing strategies continuing to be made, many have been at least starting to think about tactics like online financing and home delivery. But the current health crisis has accelerated many of these trends, and today’s dealers must adapt to a new normal.
Like most businesses across the country, dealers have been taking proactive steps to ensure consumers’ safety at the dealership, rearranging showroom layouts to support social distancing, increasing cleaning measures, and more. According to CarGurus COVID-19 Sentiment Study, among current prospective buyers, top expectations for dealer visits to purchase or service a vehicle include:
As consumers emerge from lockdown, change travel plans, and reconsider what mobility will look like in the long-term, vehicles are becoming even more vital to everyday life, according to our latest COVID-19 Sentiment Study in Canada. In fact, nearly a third of those surveyed said they expect to use their car more going forward than before the pandemic.
In the near-term, 45% of respondents say they see their car as an escape or for fun. Additionally, 50% say they expect to use their car for more road trips or longer drives, while 73% of those planning to travel this year say they intend to drive, rather than fly, for at least one trip.
A month into the second half of the year, there are still questions about what recovery will look like for the auto industry. Our June COVID-19 Sentiment Study provided a glimpse into the new normal of car shopping — and the industry has taken note. Below are recent news stories that feature CarGurus’ latest data.
As a follow-up to the Consumer Sentiment Study we presented in April, CarGurus surveyed an additional 505 shoppers in June to see how their feelings toward car shopping have changed during the pandemic. Overall, the study shows that despite lingering near-term delays in car purchases, most sales are not expected to be lost in the long term. Here are the key takeaways for dealers – or you can read the full report here.
As dealerships look forward to reopening their doors, they’re thinking about how to do it safely. Since the COVID-19 virus can survive on many types of surfaces, concerns about transmission has set new expectations for car cleanliness. Your customers will expect a different kind of safety protocol for disinfecting cars—whether it’s for test drives or service appointments—and interacting with the public. So it’s important that you clearly communicate the steps you’re taking to keep them safe.
We want to highlight the key initiatives our Consumer Marketing team are working on to drive consumer adoption of the vital Contactless Services dealers like you are providing right now.
We’ve added an onsite banner on cargurus.com that promotes safer shopping with CarGurus. Shoppers will also see an expandable modal window on the homepage explaining the new filters and what they mean.
To say COVID-19 has disrupted the auto industry is an understatement. The global pandemic is continuing to sweep the world, forcing car shoppers to re-evaluate their purchase plans and change their shopping behaviours. Despite the constantly evolving situation, dealers who are able to adapt still have the opportunity to bring in business and stay connected to their customers.
Here are five key takeaways from our soon-to-be-released global COVID-19 Sentiment Study that you can use to adapt your business strategy to today’s new normal.
CarGurus recently hosted a webinar with Facebook and Bosak Motors to discuss digital marketing trends for a new 2020. The participants shared many key insights over 30 minutes. Here are four important takeaways:
Update your marketing messages for the moment
Make sure to update your creative and messaging to communicate exactly what’s happening at the dealership right now. Bosak Motors updated all their messaging to advertise the services they’re offering to help keep customers safe, such as home delivery, contactless services, and online vehicle sales.
The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly reshaping our daily lives and we continue to be impressed by the creative ways our dealer partners are evolving their businesses in this new environment. Now, more than ever, our Engineering and Product teams at CarGurus are working hard to develop products to support dealers and continue connecting them with shoppers.
Starting today, CarGurus customers can highlight any contactless services that their dealership is offering directly on CarGurus. Shoppers can filter their search results based on five contactless services: