“People have been looking for cars actively during the lock-down. In the case of findandfundmycar, more have also taken their interest to the next level by applying for finance or seeking a finance decision in principle. In assessing why people may be in market, it seems that even though social-distancing will remain, and in part because of it, there is some pent up demand building because for many people a car is necessary; social-distancing means that more people are starting to think this way,”
This is the observation from MotoNovo Finance CEO Mark Standish as the business assesses the reasons behind the growth trends at findandfundmycar in terms of improving visits and crucially leads to dealers since social distancing started, which reflect increasing customer engagement with the platform.
While the lock-down means people have time on their hands, the findandfundmycar team has identified a 10 factors that are driving buyer interest during the lock-down (excluding end of finance reasons):
- A planned move away from public transport and car-sharing;
- ‘Cool to be frugal’ an austerity move that was also seen in the immediate aftermath of the credit crunch years is seeing some people planning trade down;
- Bargain hunters looking for deals that they expect to see arise as dealers and OEMs selling has been suspended;
- Increases in disposable income for some as their outgoings on commuting, eating out, childcare fees and holidays/breaks fall;
- People planning for ‘staycations’ in the UK seeking a better car or even mobile home;
- A move to buying a car that supports better social/leisure purposes as people discover cycling/running/walking and expect that changes in working practices deliver a better work/life balance;
- People looking to make a move to a more environmentally friendly car; they have been planning it and have now had time to research it, feel now is the time;
- Historically low-interest rates;
- ‘Live for Today’ mindset driven by the pandemic;
- ‘Cash for car’/Benefit in Kind (BiK) tax changes.
Reflecting upon the factors identified, Standish concludes; “People are still interested in changing their car, largely because they feel they need a car. This is being accentuated by social-distancing factors. The scale of activity is something we will have to wait and discover. What we can take from this anecdotal feedback is that COVID-19 and its implications on how we live in the months ahead are likely to impact people’s thought process when it comes to their future car buying.”