In January, there were 7.4 million advert views of brand-new cars on Auto Trader, a 69% increase on pre-pandemic January 2020.
Thia also marks the highest number of views recorded in a single month. It equates to almost 10,000 views of a new car every hour.
January also saw a sharp increase in the number of individual users viewing a new car on Auto Trader, growing 14% year-on-year (YoY) and 19% on December.
This very strong level of consumer engagement resulted in a 98% YoY increase in the number of new car leads being sent to retailers last month.
Despite still being in a national lockdown, last week (1st – 7th February) marked the highest ever number of new car advert views (up 59% YoY) in a single week, as well as the highest number of new car leads sent to retailers (up 116% YoY).
Auto Trader’s commercial director, Ian Plummer said: “Although we hope dealerships will reopen soon, retailers need to plan for every eventuality and unfortunately, the possibility their doors will have to remain closed during some or all of the key month of March.
“From what we can see from our data, there is cause for optimism: there’s a growing level of new car demand, and the broader economic consumer confidence levels, which is typically the key driver of the new car market, remains relatively strong. In fact, our latest research shows that consumers are currently more confident in being able to afford their next car than they were pre-pandemic.
“There’s clearly an appetite from consumers to be able to do more of the car buying journey online, but for those not currently prepared to complete their journey online, although often comfortable to narrow down their final choice and even fully stacking a deal with help from their local retailer, we’re confident they’ll quickly convert to purchase once they’re able to physically see the car and drive it.
“The strong signs of pent-up demand we’re tracking on our marketplace should therefore help the new car market return to health as soon as retailers can reopen their showrooms.”