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Strong buyer demand sees days in stock fall as used prices rise in September

  • Days in stock average 47.2, selling 10 days faster than in August
  • Advertised prices for top 50 leading makes/models rise 1.8% to £12,604
  • Stock volumes average 46.4 units, on a par with August 

6 October 2020 Strong consumer demand for used cars in September saw the first improvements in stock turns and average prices since dealer forecourts started reopening from June, according to the latest eBay Motors Group Market View.

Days to sell continued to normalise averaging 47.2 days, a significant 10-day improvement on August's figure and closer to the 41.5 days being averaged in September 2019.

Although the shortage of used vehicles continues to hit inventory levels, with the average dealer trading 46.4 cars, 12 fewer than September 2019, month-on-month stock levels saw marginal improvements across independent and car supermarket sites with franchised dealers broadly stocking the same volume.

The buoyant market saw average prices for the top 50 leading makes and models rise 1.8% month-on-month to £12,604, with franchised dealer prices experiencing the biggest increase up 2% to £14,796.

Incoming calls and email leads to dealerships continued their strong post-lockdown trend, up 15% on pre-lockdown levels recorded at the beginning of March.

Online searches for "cars for sale" and "used cars" remained strong throughout September, reflecting consistent consumer interest despite the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic.

"September's a key month for the used sector with buyer activity stimulated by the plate-change, so it was encouraging to see dealers enjoying a much needed boost with cars being sold significantly faster than at any point since the lockdown," said Marc Robinson, head of sales at eBay Motors Group. 

"While the increase in advertised prices will help bottom lines, supply remains a challenge and we hope this will ease in Q4."

Audi dominated September's top five fastest selling cars with the Audi S3 selling in just 31.5 days, the Audi S5 in 31.7 days and Mercedes-Benz A Class in 31.8 days. Followed by the Audi A1 and Skoda Karoq both averaging 32.2 days.

Despite the decline in demand for diesel cars in the new car market1, they remained popular among used buyers even selling marginally faster than petrol cars at 46.3 days, compared to 46.6 days.

Alternative fuel vehicles took significantly longer to sell year-on-year with electric vehicles averaging 59.8 days, compared to 47.6 days, and hybrids averaging 71.2 days, compared with 44.8 days.

1SMMT Vehicle Data, https://www.smmt.co.uk/vehicle-data/car-registrations/