Lockdown and restrictions across the UK hampered used car market in Q4 2020

The UK’s used car market declined in 2020 by -14.9% according to the latest figures by the SMMT. 6,752,959 used car transactions took place, 1,182,146 fewer than in 2019.

Despite used car transactions increasing 3.7% in October, a fourth consecutive month of growth, the “combination of new lockdowns and tougher restrictions across the UK later in the year saw activity tail off”, with declines of -18.3% and -4.2% in November and December respectively. Combined Q4 transactions fell by -6.2% to 1,693,138.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) bucked the trend, with 144,225 of these models sold, an increase of 5.2%, with their market share rising to 2.1%. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were up 29.7% to 19,184 units, but still only “a fraction of all activity” at 0.3%. Hybrids (HEVs) also rose, up 4.7%, while demand for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) fell by -5.0%. Used diesel and petrol car transactions fell, by -15.5% and -15.2% respectively, but combined were still equivalent to 6.6 million units.

In 2020, all used car segments experienced declines, with superminis retaining the spot as the most popular choice with 2.2 million units purchased, 32.0% of all transactions. Lower medium cars were the next most traded segment, with 27.0% market share. Luxury Saloon (-5.8%), dual purpose (-7.2%) and specialist sports (-8.4%) saw more modest declines with a combined 1,084,504 transactions.

Black was number one in the colour charts, with over 1.4 million models in the shade changing hands, silver and blue completed the podium line-up.