September will be a crucial month for UK new car sales – and serve as a good indicator of the health of the market as it enters the final quarter of the year, reads the latest update from Rachael Prasher, managing director of What Car? and Haymarket Automotive.
What Car?’s analysis of buyer time-frames suggests the market is stabilising from a significant period of forced closure and uncertainty, followed by a wave of pent-up demand. Findings suggest the market is finally starting to steady towards this direction after a turbulent second and third quarter. Polling when buyers will next purchase a vehicle, 22.34% said they are looking to buy in the next four weeks, while 20.60% will look to purchase in the next three months, and 15.99% in the next six months.
What Car? Has compared how the intentions have shifted since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. In March, more than half of all buyers said they were postponing their next purchase to at least six months, with just 7.99% looking to buy in three months’ time. As a sign of pent-up demand, nearly a fifth wanted to purchase as soon as dealerships reopened their doors. This demand grew throughout the period of dealership closures, reaching 24.91% in May before dealers reopened in June.
Crucially, as the months have rolled on, the share of buyers postponing their purchase by at least six months has fallen significantly. In April, it went below 50% for the first time, dropping to just 25% in May, and has since stayed at below 20% since late June.