UK Public Transport Fears Drive More Online Demand For Used Cars

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Following the UK government’s pandemic warnings, interest in used cars has increased significantly, with people looking for safer alternatives to public transport. As people shop for used cars, it’s important to remember that finding the best car battery prices is also necessary as a second-hand vehicle’s battery will likely need to be replaced soon. Apart from a car’s specs, buyers should also consider the upkeep and maintenance required and the average car battery price to expect.

According to online car marketplace Auto Trader, traffic on its website and apps garnered 64 million visits in June, 29% higher compared to the same time last year.

Motorway.co.uk, another online used car marketplace, said it achieved record sales of £1.6 million in one day after restarting sales early in May. This value is almost a third higher than its previous daily sales record.

With new car sales falling by as much as 97% in April during the height of the lockdown, the increase in used car sales was welcome news for car retailers in the UK. As unemployment rises, a negative impact on car sales is expected in the coming months.

The industry hopes that the demand for smaller, cheaper used cars will further increase as people continue to avoid public transport during the pandemic. Additionally, consumer interest in motorbikes, scooters, and mopeds has also increased.

The UK government has urged people to cycle or walk, to avoid adding to congestion and increased pollution. However, people still require cars for long-distance transport, especially outside of urban areas.

According to the UK car dealer body, the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), around 55% of its members saw an increase of online used car sales in June.

According to Tom Leathes, the chief executive of Motorway.co.uk, an increasing number of people prefer online transactions due to fears about the pandemic. He added that the rise in online used car sales shows that the car market remains buoyant.

Leathes said he expected the pandemic to hasten the gradual shift to online car sales, and many in the car industry agree with this prediction. Historically, the car dealer industry has been slow to shift to online sales compared to other retail sectors.

With the government looking to ease the pressure on the industry, car dealer branches in England were allowed to reopen in June; however, online car sales had continued even before the physical dealerships reopened.

According to Sue Robinson, the director of the NFDA, the majority of customers chose to purchase vehicles online and collect from a dealership while showrooms were still closed. This proved beneficial to car dealers since this was the only viable way to sell cars amidst the lockdown.

Robinson added that since the lockdown, retailers have seen a significant increase in online activity from customers, especially in the used car sector. She said that physical outlets are still essential to the UK car retail industry and the NFDA's members had seen an increase in the number of visits to dealerships before the pandemic.

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Published at: 07-08-2020