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Automotive A Year In Review

While January and February 2020 automotive sales started off strong, news of the coronavirus resulted in plummeting car sales in March, with the major OEMs reporting Q1 losses.1

First hit in 2008 with the recession and subsequent government bailout,2 the automotive industry braced yet again for disaster, concerned that the pandemic was just the latest nail in the coffin. Not only were they faced with the challenges of production,3 but also the changing consumer mindset, with many questions no one could definitively answer.

Diving into Quantcast’s first-party data, we looked back at 2020, reflecting on what we’ve learned to help answer questions including:

  • Do consumers research cars during a pandemic?
  • Who are the car shoppers now and how have they changed?
  • What are the new areas of opportunity?

  1. NYTimes, Auto Sales Plummet in First Quarter as Coronavirus Keeps Buyers Away, April 1, 2020
  2. MarketWatch, Opinion: Another bailout for U.S. car makers may be coming, May 11, 2020
  3. Car And Driver, Automakers Are Extending Production Shutdowns into April/May, April 7, 2020

A Rough Start to the Year 2020 Do consumers research cars during a pandemic?

Visitation to automotive websites saw a stark decline in early 2020, largely exacerbated by the lockdowns and social distancing measures enacted at the time. Average monthly site-visitation during March and April was down -10% from the January and February period. Early April proved to be the absolute low-point in visitation: the April 1 to 14th period generated average daily Auto visitation volumes that were -25.9% lower than the overall 2020 daily average.

But in May, the total monthly visitation to automotive dealer sites was +22.6% higher than in April. The resurgence was off and running…

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