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Data Point

Five Takeaways from Latest COVID-19 Consumer Impact Study


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Cox Automotive has been tracking consumer behavior throughout the pandemic to measure how vehicle purchase intenders have been reacting to changing market conditions. With COVID-19 vaccines available for more of the population and boosters rolling out, a fresh round of research was conducted last month. More than half of Americans indicated they are now “not at all” or only “somewhat” concerned about the pandemic, according to the latest Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer Impact Study. Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated they were “extremely” or “very” concerned about COVID-19, the lowest level since the studies began in March 2020. Here are five additional takeaways worth noting:

Five Takeaways from Consumers and Dealers

  1. Prices are higher and everyone knows it. The study shows 67% of franchised dealers indicated their new-vehicle prices are higher than they were before the pandemic. On the used-vehicle side, 73% of franchised dealers admit their prices are higher compared to 81% of independent dealers. Shoppers see it as well, with 56% recognizing prices are up on new cars, and 47% acknowledging higher used-car prices.  
  2. It’s a seller’s market, but buyers are in. Only 16% of six-month intenders are now indicating they will delay their purchase, down from a pandemic high of 34% in the spring of 2020. This is the lowest number since the pandemic began. Among intenders delaying their purchase, 20% cite “the vehicle I want isn’t currently available” as the top reason for delaying purchase. 
  3. For a good deal, shoppers know they need to wait. Among in-market intenders, 66% believe they would have to wait up to 12 months to get the best deal on a new vehicle. 
  4. More of the buying process has moved online. In the recent survey, 55% of franchised dealers indicated their buyers are choosing to complete more of the buying process online. 
  5. Consumers are choosing to repair, instead of replace. Facing major service work and a lack of available inventory, 70% of consumers say they would choose to repair their existing vehicle, instead of replacing it. Prior to COVID-19, 61% of consumers were choosing to repair.

For the full report or to speak with an expert about the latest findings, contact Cox Automotive Public Relations.

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