1st April 2020 - Shane Ennis
The Irish Motor Industry has endured a difficult month in light of the COVID-19 pandemic with dealerships around the country forced to suspend on-site sales activities. As reported by SIMI, new car registrations are down 63% on the same period last year and there is great uncertainty as to when the market will be fully operational again.
In the nearly new and used car space, we are seeing double digit growth in app downloads and usage in the final two weeks of March versus the prior two. While at home and with more time on their hands, consumers are spending more time in Sweep’s digital showroom with noticeable increases in web chat interactions, vehicle video requests and online finance applications. In a recent survey of Sweep users 50% indicated that they would be willing to do the research and deal-making with a dealership now, remotely, and collect later when restrictions on movement and retail are lifted. Here’s what we learned about the market on Sweep this month:
Volkswagen retain the number 1 spot as most popular brand on Sweep for March 2020. BMW move up to second, while Audi are not far behind in third.
No change in the top 3 for most popular model on the app. The beloved Volkswagen Golf is still the number one amongst Irish car buyers, with the Ford Focus and BMW 5 Series in second and third place respectively.
In March, 29% of searches were for Hatchbacks, 27% were for SUVs and 22% for Saloons. No change at the top here, proving again that it’s horses for courses when it comes to people choosing a body type that suits their needs.
We’re not a particularly adventurous bunch when it comes to searching vehicle colours in Ireland. Black remains the most popular search, closely followed by Grey in second and Silver in third. Honourable mentions this months for White, Blue and Red.
We’re seeing a clear growth trend in EV and Hybrid searches on Sweep – a clear indicator of where the market is inevitably heading. Combined, EV and Hybrid swipes now account for 11% of all searches on the app – up one percentage point from February and 4% year to date. Diesel and Petrol continue to dominate however, with 70% and 19% of searches respectively.