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Did the national lockdown negatively affect people’s perceptions and attitudes towards buying and selling a car? No! The good news is that – for the bulk of the motoring public – it’s business as usual. This is one of many findings of a survey1. that was commissioned by AutoTrader in order to better understand consumer sentiment towards mobility and, more specifically, the used car market.
According to George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, the company approached the survey with some trepidation. “We knew that the used car market was buoyant. This is confirmed by our year-on-year growth. Visits in December 2020 versus December 2019 increased by 55% while visits in January 2021 versus January 2020 increased by 42%. Hence, we knew that there was an appetite in the market to buy used cars. But 2020 was a year that disrupted the nation in a way no one could ever have predicted. We wondered if the survey results would reflect a pessimistic view. This was certainly not the case,” he reveals.
For instance, 46% of the respondents stated that they were in the so-called “consideration phase”. This means that they are actively researching car prices. A further 20% of the respondents were in the “evaluation phase”, meaning that they’re shortlisting their favourite cars and they’re ready to buy.
The survey also found that the respondents’ purchasing decisions were not far off. A substantial 31% of respondents claimed they were going to buy within three months. A further 20% said they would buy a car within one month and an additional 20% said that they would be signing on the dotted line within six to 12 months.
The respondents aren’t looking for a cheap and cheerful car; “Up to R400 000” was selected as the most popular shopping range. However, they don’t shop for a new car very often. When asked how often they replace their cars, “more than every five years” was the most popular response by far – 33.33% of consumers selected this option.
The survey also reveals insight into car ownership in South Africa. The country has a national car parc of approximately 11,5 million vehicles, of which about 7,5 million are passenger cars2. Respondents indicated what their personal household car parc looked like – and the number of vehicles owned per family is surprisingly high. A substantial 36.19% have two cars, 13.33% have three and 7.94% have four. A total of 6.24% have more than four. So, 63,7% of respondents have two or more cars in their personal household car park. In contrast, 10.37% have no car and 25,93% have one.
The full findings of the survey – which forms part of AutoTrader’s bi-annual Car Industry Report – can be downloaded here.