Part 1: Automotive Insights We’ve Discovered During The Covid-19 Economy

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Detroit, MI - Detroit Trading Automotive Research & Insights

Jack Lintol

President & COO at Detroit Trading


Our team of data scientists have been monitoring the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on automotive retail over the past few months. Here are three insights we thought you would find interesting: 1. Consumer Hand-Raiser Activity, 2. Dealer Marketing Efforts, and 3. Consumer Purchase Rates. We’ve graphed daily activity of these three metrics against seasonally adjusted, historic activity - shown as the “expected” baseline in the charts below.

1. Consumer Hand-Raiser Activity 

Consumer interest is down slightly, with peaks above expected levels continuing throughout the month of March. As of publication, the trend shows a slight downturn in shopper interest.

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Consumers are still engaging with dealers. Compared with the previous month, our study of lead engagement shows hot transfer and scheduled phone appointments increasing, while in-store appointments show a sharp decrease as expected. 

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What this means to us: Consumers are actively engaged in online shopping and are requesting help with automotive purchases, and are looking to take advantage of offers.

2. Dealer Lead Marketing Efforts

Dealer activity is trending down slightly, but holding positive despite the current climate. In the course of the last 2 weeks, during the height of the economic slowdown and many-state closures, dealers continued lead marketing efforts. At publication, marketing efforts are slightly higher than expected. 

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What this means to us: US automotive dealers are actively purchasing new and used car leads, and actively marketing to the US consumer despite the Covid-19 impact.

3. Consumer Purchase Rates

Taking a look at expected close rates versus actual, we see a strong start the first week of March followed by steady decline through 3/19, currently at 25% below expected.

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What this means to us: Close rates have been steadily decreasing since March 7 as you would expect during a crisis such as this. Under normal circumstances, we see a significant increase in overall close-rate in the last week of the month, which we don’t expect in the month of March.

Automotive Market Is In Better Shape Than Many Thought

While it’s clear, and not surprising, that most trends are down, we’re thankful at how slight the decline is for consumer interest and dealer lead marketing. People continue to shop online; the current OEM offers will incentivize them to continue. We anticipate purchase rates to lag until after the “stay-at-home” mandates are lifted. We are confident in dealership and OEM resilience, and their ability to navigate through this current crisis.

About the Author - Jack Lintol is the President of Detroit Trading, a Detroit-based firm that is amongst the world’s foremost data and technology providers of “in-market” automotive shoppers and shopper intelligence. The firm provides data and leverages data science for original equipment manufacturers and dealers that is responsible for more than 30,000 and $1 billion in monthly car sales. Contact Jack at jack@detroittrading.com.

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