Part 2: While Consumers Are Still Shopping for Cars, The Covid-19 Economy is Extending The Purchase Timeframe

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Detroit, MI - Detroit Trading Automotive Research & Insights

Jack Lintol

President & COO at Detroit Trading


Detroit Trading accesses millions of data points hourly that reflect the current status of consumer vehicle interest and purchase. In relation to the current Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on the economy, we’ve matched reported cases with a few key metrics on a state-by-state and county-by-county basis for the month of March. The four metrics we will highlight are: 1. Consumer Lead Activity, 2. National Dealer Lead Purchase Activity, 3. National Close Rates and 4. Close Rates in Lower-Case Areas.

1. Consumer Lead Activity: Shows Only Minor Change In Behavior

We compared the change in consumer online shopping activity nationwide from February to March, and compared it to the cases of Covid, on a state-by-state and county by county level.

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What this means to us: Consumers are shopping online during the Covid-19 pandemic, with slightly lower activity in the areas with higher reported cases of Covid-19.

2. Dealer Lead Purchase Activity: Number of Dealers Purchasing Leads Has Remained Constant

When compared to active cases of Covid-19, we compare data nationwide where dealer’s are actively purchasing leads.

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What this means to us: Covid-19 Cases and Dealer Lead Purchase Activity don’t show a strong correlation; dealers are still purchasing leads.

3. National Close Rates: Consumer Purchase Is Affected

Comparing Covid-19 case data compared to the change in close rates for the month of March compared to February. 

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What this means to us: There is a direct correlation geographically to those states and counties with a higher number of cases and close rate. Simply put, the consumer buying process is delayed by Covid-19.

4. Close Rate Index: Lower Vs. Higher Affected Areas

We split up those counties with less than 100 cases per million and compared to the rest of the data.

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What this means to us: There is a marked difference in close rates in those counties less affected by Covid-19.

Conclusion: Consumers are still shopping, however the timeline-to-purchase has been extended. 

With increasing state-wide, and state mandated, stay-at-home orders, we’re seeing nominal changes in consumer shopping and dealer marketing activity. However, we are seeing higher decreases in close rates in areas with higher cases of Covid-19. We are seeing some less affected areas where consumer close rates are not going down as much. 

This data is pulled from our ClearPath™ Enterprise Platform. This technology utilizes over a decade of automotive consumer data to model lead behavior & performance across every zip code in the United States. Consumer activity, dealer lead purchase activity, and consumer close rates are measured hourly and results are fed into the real-time decision making capabilities of the ClearPath™ Enterprise Platform.


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.

Detroit Trading – 248.352.1313

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