The Revival Of The Automotive Industry Post-COVID-19

Industry News

Memorial Day weekend typically marks the start of “busy season” for auto dealers, but COVID-19 has certainly affected dealers’ sales expectations for this month.

However, with lifted stay-at-home orders, stimulus checks, the delayed tax season, and never-before-seen OEM incentives, consumer confidence is coming back.

Dealership traffic and sales have been down across the nation over the past months, but studies from across the industry are showing that not only has the decline slowed…

…shopper activity is actually starting to increase.

Auto Shopper Intent Is On The Rise

Autotrader has been tracking the anticipated delay in vehicle purchases over the past 6 weeks and for the first time since March 7th, delay percentages are decreasing.

16% more respondents are now expected to purchase within the next 2 months, and 24% of shoppers have gone from being “not sure” when they’re going to buy, to now wanting to purchase sometime within the next 6 months!

Source: Autotrader – “COVID-19 Digital Car Shopping Study”

Additionally, the search term “Is it a good time to buy a car?” has seen a 900% increase month-over-month, and 52% of auto shoppers report that the Coronavirus has still not changed their timeline to buy a new vehicle according to Google, Global Auto Pulse Insights.

Dealer Inspire’s recent studies echo these trends, with a 31% increase in dealership website leads over the past month.  

Source: Dealer Inspire – “Update: Tracking The COVID-19 Rebound For Car Dealers”

One thing is apparent: shoppers are shopping once again.

Vehicle Sales Are Slowly Recovering

According to a recent report by JD Power, sales volume is also up in all 25 major markets except for Denver, Colorado, and April 19th marked the 3rd straight week of improving vehicle sales.  

In their latest Automotive Rapid Response Report, IHS Markit revealed that national registrations are up 48% week-over-week, and there has been a 68% increase week-over-week across the 7 eastern states who are slowly reopening their economies.

New York’s 56% WoW increase alone positively indicates the state’s rebound, after being hit the hardest with almost 1/3 of the nation’s COVID-19 cases.

Source: IHS Markit – “Automotive Rapid Response Report – 29 April 2020

Not only are sales increasing in almost every single market, but they’re projected to continue to increase as the economy recovers and more markets decrease restrictive measures. 

So how can you ensure you’re setting your dealership up to maximize increasing shopper demand in your market once the new-normal begins?

Unlocking Auto Shopper Demand

If one thing is obvious from all these reports, it’s that consumer confidence is on the rise, and Memorial Day may be the mark of a true vehicle sales rebound post-COVID-19.

Here are a few ways you can prepare to capture the upcoming shopper demand:

1. Bring your OEM incentives to the forefront of your message.

According to Autotrader’s COVID-19 Digital Car Shopping Study, OEMs have seen significant lifts in engagement after announcing their incentives and relief programs.

Additionally, shoppers report that one of the biggest triggers that will accelerate their vehicle purchase is if they can find a deal or incentive they cannot refuse.

Source: AutoTrader – “COVID-19 Digital Car Shopping Study”

There are still 49% of shoppers who are delaying, but can still be swayed by incentives.

Pull your OEM Brand incentives down through your messaging, and stretch your ad dollars further by specifically targeting local brand loyalists, or owners of competing brands, who are almost ready to buy.

Using exclusive TransUnion data, you can also build audiences of stimulus check and tax return recipients, showing them tailor-made offers and dealership incentives to further maximize their cash. 


Want to see how other dealers are Unlocking Shopper Demand in time for Memorial Day? Click here!

2. Ensure your dealership has an online presence and is visible to in-market shoppers in your market.

Since people are still going to be doing the majority of their shopping at home, the more information your dealership can make accessible to the customer, the better. 

Consumers report that pricing and special incentives are catching their attention in the latest auto advertisements, but that the look of the vehicle, its capabilities and accessories still have a big influence on their buying decisions.

Provide a “Collage Carousel” ad that tours In-Market shoppers through the vehicle exterior, interior, and technology, and then retarget anyone who clicked the ad and visited your VDP with an OEM incentive!

You can also show shoppers your on-the-ground inventory with Automotive Inventory Ads so they can browse without ever having to leave their homes to make a decision. 

Once they visit your VDPs, you can retarget them with lead ads to help them schedule an at-home test drive, apply for financing, or calculate their monthly payment. 

Begin The “Return To Normal

While we’re all going to need to adjust to the “new normal,” all signs are pointing towards the automotive industry’s recovery. 

The traffic is coming back and almost every market is seeing a boost in sales.

Make sure that your dealership is getting in front of auto shoppers online, where they are spending their time right now. 

Show in-market shoppers your live inventory and dealership and OEM incentives, and increase your dealership’s digital retail services so shoppers can complete as much of the sales process as possible without ever having to step foot in your store. 

We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re on the right track. 

If your dealership wants to Unlock Shopper Demand in time for this Memorial Day, click here to get started.

Car shopper demand is coming.

Build a plan now

Blog Author - Drew Detweiler

Written By Drew Detweiler
Drew manages inbound and outbound marketing for Dealers United. When he’s not at work, he’s probably enjoying the outdoors, fishing, or eating.

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