Pandemic Continues To Impact Automotive Shoppers

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped transportation and car-shopping for the foreseeable future, per CarGurus research. 

Demand has rebounded following dips early in the pandemic: Due to decreased spending and an inflow of stimulus money, buying confidence has recovered. Major life changes like moving to a new house (29%), getting a new job (22%), and working from home (12%) have also made people more interested in buying a car this year.

Shoppers have gotten used to the ease of digital retail, with an increasing number (60%) of people hoping to complete at least part of the car-buying process at home, says Madison Gross, director of consumer insights at CarGurus.

Consumers are much more comfortable shopping in-store this year, but they still want a safe experience, with the majority (51%) expecting dealers to continue wearing masks.

Consumers hope dealers will continue the adaptations they made during the pandemic, such as various contactless services. Shoppers are most interested in pre-scheduled dealership appointments (46%), solo test drives (42%), test drive at home (32%), and at-home delivery (30%).

As consumers continue to steer clear of shared mobility and turn to purchasing their own vehicle instead, they’re faced with rising prices due to the current inventory constraints, Gross adds.

CarGurus, Inc., a multinational, online automotive platform for buying and selling vehicles, released its most recent COVID-19 sentiment study that examines both short- and long-term trends of how auto shoppers have reacted to the pandemic. 

The research is the latest iteration in a series of previous CarGurus studies that were run in AprilJune and November of 2020.

The inventory shortage is hitting buyers. The majority (58%) of shoppers are aware of high vehicle prices as a result of low inventory, an increase from 26% in November 2020.

Ultimately,  the pandemic prompted a decline in demand for shared transportation, and consumers aren’t eager to return, per the latest study. 

Only half (54%) of consumers who previously used ride-share services expect to return to their pre-pandemic activity in the next year, and few more (59%) plan to in the long term.

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