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Dealers challenged by shortage of stock to meet continuing buyer interest, as showrooms across the UK reopen in July

  • Average dealer stock levels down 30% year-on-year to 47 vehicles
  • Buyer enquiries up 153% compared with lockdown low point
  • Average list prices stable month-on-month at £12,791
  • Vauxhall Astra GTC fastest selling used car in July

17th August 2020 With forecourts open across the UK in July for the first time since March, dealers faced the challenge of matching high levels of buyer enquiries with significantly depleted stock levels, according to eBay Motors Group's latest Market View. 

Average dealer stock levels for the month were down 30% year-on-year from 66 to 47 units. They were also down on June's average of 51 units. 

The fall was largely driven by car supermarkets where stocking levels dropped -52% year-on-year from 516 to 247 units. Franchised dealer sites saw stocks drop by 13 vehicles to 54, while independents saw a more modest drop of just five units to 44. 

However, buyer enquires in July, made by phone calls and emails, were up 24% on pre-lockdown levels recorded at the beginning of March and 153% higher than the lowest point of the lockdown.  

With high numbers of buyers chasing fewer available cars, average days in stock improved month-on-month from 73 to 66 days, although still significantly above the 41 days averaged in July 2019. 

"Our July Market View analysis shows a sector grappling with the challenge of meeting high customer demand with depleted stocks," said Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group. 

"With auction and remarketing companies reporting high numbers of trade buyers going online to source stock1, some dealers are going outside of their comfort zones and working hard to replenish forecourts. The coming weeks will be crucial for dealers looking to bounce back by satisfying the pent-up demand shown by the high volume of enquiries their online activities are generating," said Kelleher. 

Analysis across eBay Motors Group's platforms also showed continued stability in used car list prices, which dropped an average of just -0.6% for the top 50 makes and models, from £12,865 to £12,791. 

Petrol remained the fuel of choice of used car buyers, accounting for 54% of all searches and 52% of dealer stock, the same level as last year. 

Interest in diesel remained high with 44% of views, marginally down from 45% last year, accounting for 45% of stocks, compared with 46% last year. Diesel cars matched petrol cars in the time they spent on the forecourt, both averaging 65 days. 

The fastest selling used car in July was the Vauxhall Astra GTC (40.4 days), followed by the Audi S3 (40.5 days) and Mercedes-Benz SLC (41 days). 

Source: 1 Motor auction houses see strong volumes and rising prices (National Association of Motor Auctions, 14 July 2020. https://www.nama-uk.com/press-room/press-releases/motor-auction-houses-see-strong-volumes-and-rising-prices

Data source - eBay Motors Group Data Warehouse, July 2020 vs. June 2020 and July 2019 

Source: 1 Motor auction houses see strong volumes and rising prices (National Association of Motor Auctions, 14 July 2020. https://www.nama-uk.com/press-room/press-releases/motor-auction-houses-see-strong-volumes-and-rising-prices 
 
 
 
Data source - eBay Motors Group Data Warehouse, July 2020 vs. June 2020 and July 2019