,-as-more-americans-turn-to-car-ownership Shoppers Logged a Record 30 Million Hours on the Platform Last Year, as More Americans Turn to Car Ownership


One year from the start of a historic worldwide pandemic that changed commerce and transportation, maybe permanently, leading automotive digital marketplace and solutions provider Inc. (NYSE: CARS) today unveiled new insights about the pandemic’s impact on car buying and selling. Shoppers logged a record 30 million hours on over the last year as the stay-at-home economy took hold, representing a 9% increase since March 2020.1  There were also significant jumps in first-time and urban buyers entering the auto market, reflecting a shift away from public or shared transportation and a heightened demand for the freedom and security provided by car ownership.

More Americans are prioritizing car ownership. A national survey of over 1,500 online respondents revealed that 36% of those who purchased a new or used car since March 2020 were first-time car buyers. This trend is accompanied by accelerated purchasing timelines, growing demand for technology and safety features, and an average price increase for new and used vehicles.2

“One year ago, our world changed as we shifted to digital-first and faced significant transformations in work, travel and commerce. Americans quarantined in their homes found a new appreciation for their cars, which offered a much needed, safe escape and an extension of home during uncertain times,” said Alex Vetter, CEO of Inc. “As the U.S. begins to open up, the durable trends we have witnessed in car shopping and selling over the last year will shape the future of automotive and ensure a strong retail environment in 2021. Our next normal demands convenient virtual experiences, online car-buying options and local home delivery.” tracked COVID-19’s impact on car shopping and selling since last March, observing the following significant consumer shifts:

  • Pandemic continues to advance purchasing timelines: found nearly 60% of car buyers reported the pandemic influenced their decision to purchase a vehicle, with more than 50% buying sooner than originally planned.2
  • Local dealers will bring it to you: At-home delivery and virtual services by local dealerships skyrocketed over the last year. Since the pandemic started, 20 million vehicles listed on have been available for contactless, local home delivery.1
  • Urban car owners take the wheel: In the past year, 38% of car buyers were in urban areas, where the pandemic accelerated car ownership even further; 3 out of 4 city dwellers cited the pandemic as influencing their decision to buy. Urban buyers were also three times more likely to buy an EV than their suburban counterparts.2
  • New or used, cars are selling faster, and for more: Increased demand, supply challenges and a global chip shortage led to rising prices for consumers. New-vehicle average prices rose 4.8% year over year and notably sold 22 days faster on compared to pre-pandemic. Used-vehicle average prices increased 9.7% year over year and sold five days faster on from the same period a year ago.1
  • Tech, safety and versatility are increasingly important: Americans chose to drive more frequently and longer distances; at the same time, cars became extensions of homes and offices. Predictably, shoppers sought features that would provide more comfort, connection and peace of mind. The following features saw the largest upticks in 2020 searches1:
    • Tow Hitch +55.4% YoY
    • Cooled Seats +36.3% YoY
    • Heated Steering Wheel +34.0% YoY
    • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto +24.3% YoY
    • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert +116.5% YoY

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