lockdown's effects on the used car market

lockdown's effects on the used car market

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The UK’s various lockdowns have affected a wide range of industries, and the used car sales market is one of them. Whilst the restrictions left many cars on the driveway and forecourts forced to close, the demand for used cars lessened and led to a decrease in sales. The question is: how will our ‘new normal’ affect the market going forward?

Now, as we begin to leave lockdown restrictions behind us, we will analyse the figures to show how used car sales have been affected, and what this means for people looking for purchase in 2021.

What is happening to the used car market?

The used car market has been dramatically affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with transactions decreasing over 1.8million since 2019. The various restrictions and advice to minimise travel at all costs has left the market suffering a loss of £20billion. In fact, 2020 was the worst year for used car sales since 2012, according to trade body SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders).

These figures demonstrate a severe dent on the market and as a result many businesses are in dire straits, awaiting April 12th when showrooms and forecourts are allowed to reopen. With such a gap in time and finances, a lot of used car dealers may be considering how they might encourage custom and promote trust during a time when almost everything is uncertain.

Another interesting aspect about the current market demand for electronic and hybrid vehicles has risen. This indicates that the newer low-emission makes and models are becoming more widely used and therefore purchased.

Are used car prices going up or down?

After suffering a long year of uncertainty, dealers will be searching for ways to recoup their losses in any way possible, potentially by increasing the prices of used cars across the board. There are quite a few factors at play however, including a potentially pent up demand as people come out of lockdown and perhaps realise their current vehicle is not fit for purpose.

Not only that, but April being a busy month for renewals, it might be that consumers are reconsidering their options. The increase of home-working - much of which is likely to continue as various businesses downgrade on office space - might also influence consumers to choose more suitable vehicles for their needs.

Is now a good time to buy a second hand car?

Some experts in the industry suggest now is a good time so buy a used car, before there is a significant increase in prices to counteract 2020’s lack of market movement. With many dealers looking to recoup cash, you might be able to capitalise on special offers or finance deals that perhaps weren’t available before.

Data shows that there was an increase in sales in December as consumer demand started to rise again. Although showrooms were not open, operational changes allowed cars to be viewed virtually as well as picked up with a click and collect method. This demonstrates a surge of consumers looking to review and change the way they use their cars in light of the sometimes permanent lifestyle changes that the pandemic has caused.

How can I sell my car fast?

If you’re looking to offload your vehicle rather than purchase a new one, you will be able to make the most of easing lockdown restrictions. You can part-exchange with a dealership if you are looking to have a new runaround, or if you are looking to earn some cash, you can sell privately.

The main issue stopping private car selling over the past year was the government’s restrictions on travel and meeting up with people. Now these are starting to ease, private sellers can meet with potential buyers outdoors as long as they stick to social distancing.

Ensure your car is sanitised and clean and ask your buyer to wear gloves or use antibacterial handwash whilst they look around the vehicle. With a few simple steps, you can sell your car whilst remaining safe and within the rules.

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data analysis from 24th Apr '24 to 23rd Jul '24