Pandemic Changes Car Buying Plans, Or Has It?



The pandemic has changed car buying plans for nearly three out of four shoppers who intended to buy in the next six months. New research from Comscore Automotive Data Mart, cited in a story today by Auto Remarketing, indicated the pandemic tops the concerns of four out of ten who had intended to buy.


Shoppers are being more careful with all of their spending. They expect to do more research before buying, with income being a big factor too. What’s surprising is that shoppers are considering buying new, instead of used or certified pre-owned vehicles.

Comscore wanted to know how COVID-19 affected those who had planned to buy or lease a new or used vehicle, and what caused a shift. Almost half said the pandemic negatively affected their income, an impact greater among those ages 18-34 and 34-54 than those 55 and older. One third expected the pandemic and their economic situation to delay their car buying esearch, and as a result their purchasing timeline.


Not everyone was affected, including 55 percent who expected no changes. 27 percent said it would not change their car buying plans at all. New deals and customer assistance for buyers caused 13 percent to shorten their search. Pandemic case level changes and public transportation issues caused a revival in shoppers and sales from their April 2020 lows.

Automakers’ incentives, and affluent customers who are still buying, have reduced the effects of the pandemic. Being able to take advantage of the offers gave these buyers a lot of flexibility. Dealers adopted safety protocols at their dealerships to make consumers more comfortable, and better accommodate their needs. Their experience had improved by shopping online. They can view inventories online, get quotes, obtain loans, and set up delivery from home.

48 percent of shoppers were interested in purchasing a car completely online, up 10 percent over 2019. Automakers who expanded their online presence in response to the pandemic drove traffic to their websites. Consumers ready to buy cars should encourage manufacturers to come up with new ways to meet their needs.

[Images: Comscore, Honda, BMW]

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