The findings of the latest post-lockdown automotive retail survey show most UK dealerships have now reopened and are experiencing high levels of footfall. Franchised dealers have also seen a significant increase in online enquiries.
The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, has run the third edition of its ‘post-lockdown automotive retail’ survey. Through the findings, NFDA aims to assess the implications of the COVID-19 lockdown on the automotive retail sector and understand how the industry is now recovering.
The survey asked dealers questions about their return to work including the percentage of dealerships that reopened, levels of customer footfall as well as online enquiries.
Following the previous editions in June and July, the latest survey was conducted between 4 and 7 August.
· Dealership opening: the vast majority of dealers (86.5%) have now reopened all dealerships.
· Footfall: franchised dealers are experiencing high levels of footfall, especially for used cars where 37.8% of respondents have seen an increase of up to 25% from before the lockdown.
· Sales conversions: most franchised dealers have had an increase in conversions from enquiries. Nearly 60% have seen a marginal or relevant increase in sales conversions from enquiries for new cars, whilst in the used segment this goes further up to 74%.
· Phone enquiries: 65% of respondents have seen an increase in customer phone enquiries compared to before the lockdown.
· Staff levels: overall, 41.9% of respondents said their dealerships are now fully staffed and 43.2% have brought back to work more than 75% of their workforce.
· Online enquiries: in terms of online enquiries, 58.1% of dealers saw an increase in the last month for new cars and 84.9% for used.
As the effects of pent-up demand gradually ease, it is encouraging to see that many franchised dealers are experiencing strong footfall and, as a result, most staff have returned to work.
The amount of phone and online enquiries that dealers are receiving demonstrate consumer appetite, especially in the used car sector. It is positive that many dealers have seen a subsequent increase in sales conversions from these enquiries and we hope this level of demand will continue over the coming months.
NFDA will continue to monitor the health of consumer demand over the coming weeks as September will likely give us a clearer picture of the state of the market. We look forward to seeing what the plate-change month has in store.