With stay-at-home mandates across the majority of the country, product categories including automotive are taking a hit, but a peek into consumer online behavior indicates the dip might be short-term.
Consumers have increased their digital content consumption across all categories. Looking at a year-over-year data snapshot, it appears that consumption of automotive-related content is up significantly, according to ShareThis.
That could mean there's a pent-up demand for vehicle shopping, which could convert to dealership traffic when the shelter-in-place mandates are lifted.
Top brands that consumers are seeking out information about online are Audi, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, BMW and Buick.
“We are seeing some interesting patterns emerge as consumers' needs evolve,” says Michael Gorman, senior vice president of ShareThis. "Yes, there are the expected ones -- news, public health information and essentials -- but there are numerous subsets, like automotive, that are drawing significantly more eyeballs than in the past.”
Online vehicle shopping website CarGurus also is keeping a close eye on how COVID-19 is impacting car shopping. During the week of April 6, CarGurus polled 201 car shoppers on its site and found that one-quarter said their interest in online car buying has increased -- and 17% who were not previously open to online car buying now are interested.
According to ShareThis, commercial vehicles, trucks and SUVs are seeing the most significant increases in traffic. These categories are experiencing four times the average intent engagement. This could be tied to consumers and businesses responding to an increased need for delivered goods.
Clean-air vehicles, including both electric and hybrid models, are experiencing double the interest over last year, according to ShareThis. In addition, microcars and small cars saw similar rises.
Rising fuel prices, social distancing from even places like gas stations and small signs of environmental repair resulting from the shelter-in-place trend might be driving these interests, according to ShareThis.
Performance cars also are getting attention. More than double the audience are checking out manufacturer’s pages and content relating to sports cars.
On the flipside, scooters, mopeds and motorcycles have seen more than a 50% drop in interest, and campers and recreational vehicles are down 60%.