One Year Into the COVID-19 Pandemic, Purchasing Timelines Are Faster, First-Time and Urban Car Buyers Increased, and New and Used Prices Inch Higher
CHICAGO, March 10, 2021 — One year from the start of a historic worldwide pandemic that changed commerce and transportation, maybe permanently, leading automotive digital marketplace and solutions provider Cars.com Inc. (NYSE: CARS) today unveiled new insights about the pandemic's impact on car buying and selling. Shoppers logged a record 30 million hours on Cars.com over the last year as the stay-at-home economy took hold, representing a 9% increase since March 2020.1 There were also significant jumps in first-time and urban buyers entering the auto market, reflecting a shift away from public or shared transportation and a heightened demand for the freedom and security provided by car ownership.
More Americans are prioritizing car ownership. A Cars.com national survey of over 1,500 online respondents revealed that 36% of those who purchased a new or used car since March 2020 were first-time car buyers. This trend is accompanied by accelerated purchasing timelines, growing demand for technology and safety features, and an average price increase for new and used vehicles.2
“One year ago, our world changed as we shifted to digital-first and faced significant transformations in work, travel and commerce. Americans quarantined in their homes found a new appreciation for their cars, which offered a much needed, safe escape and an extension of home during uncertain times,” said Alex Vetter, CEO of Cars.com Inc. “As the U.S. begins to open up, the durable trends we have witnessed in car shopping and selling over the last year will shape the future of automotive and ensure a strong retail environment in 2021. Our next normal demands convenient virtual experiences, online car-buying options and local home delivery.”
Cars.com tracked COVID-19’s impact on car shopping and selling since last March, observing the following significant consumer shifts:
For more information about 2021 car-buying and selling trends, visit Cars.com/news/coronavirus/.
1 Cars.com Internal Data
2 Cars.com’s survey results Feb. 19, 2021; 1,510 respondents