When the government enforced lockdowns in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of last year, everyone knew it would impact the economy negatively. True enough, many businesses were forced to shut down after months of non-operation, and the majority of consumers lost much of their disposable income.
Some industries, including any Covington Subaru dealership, tell a somewhat different story, one that is backed by Cox Automotive’s Car Buyer Journey Study, Pandemic Edition. It’s an extensive study offering a glimpse into the status of the vehicle buying process in America. While the study focused on how car dealerships have improved their sales process over the years, it provided researchers with more than what they’d set out to find out.
What the Researchers Had
Like most of us, Cox
Automotive (Kelley Blue Book’s parent company) hypothesized a
rather pessimistic result, considering the prolonged economic
downturn. The travel restrictions further supported the premise since
transportation is the least of the consumers’ worries for a while.
Visiting showrooms and transacting with dealers personally were
almost impossible last year as well.
The researchers expected car
sales to plummet and improvements in the purchase or sales process to
come to a complete standstill. Or so they thought.
What the Study Has Revealed
As it turns out, however, car
sales weren’t as severely affected as initially anticipated. If
anything, it kept at a steady pace. As the study reveals, one of the
reasons is that buyers are happier with the latest purchase process
than before. With the “stay at home order” preventing
face-to-face transactions, car dealerships were forced to adapt by
providing a completely online purchase process. Surprisingly, many
buyers have found it more convenient even if it eliminates a few
essential steps, such as test-drive and inspection.
Car dealerships have also
rolled out tons of incentives and promos, driving even more online
sales. Researchers discovered that buyer interest had risen from 11%
to 17% because of these fantastic deals. There’s no doubt that many
buyers stayed off the market last year, but many more remained,
primarily those earning over $75,000.
The study has also revealed
that most of last year’s purchases were motivated by “want”
instead of “need.” It makes sense since buyers have never seen
(and probably will never see again) the prices hit rock bottom. They
know it’s all going to return to normal once the pandemic is over.
A New Trend Turning into the
Online buying is nothing new
in the modern business world. But for the automotive industry, it’s
almost unheard of. You see, their business model compels buyers to
thoroughly inspect and test the products they are interested in
before making a purchase. It appears as though the inability to do so
doesn’t bother most of today’s consumers. They value the time
they can save from the shortened and simplified process even more.
The ball is now on the car dealerships’ court since they have to ensure their buyers get what they pay for. As risky as it may seem, this is progress that can stretch beyond the pandemic. So, the next time you want to purchase a car, ask your favorite Subaru dealership in Covington for an online purchase option. Check out Baldwin Subaru for more helpful tips and information.