HOW HAS THE NATIONAL PANDEMIC, SOCIAL DISTANCING, AND SHELTER-IN-PLACE ORDERS AFFECTED AUTOMOTIVE DEALERS?
- YoY comparisons of 147 dealer clients yield similar overall trends in actualized sale volume across all OEMs; Data is highly reliant on enrolled clients which skews proportionally towards Illinois, California, Florida, and Texas state regions.
- Downward sales trends continue through April following sharp declines in March as economic activity continues to struggle as a result of COVID social distancing.
- Assuming similar seasonality to 2018 and 2019, April is historically a slightly slower sales month at -10% below the typical monthly volume. However, current April pacing through week ending 4/11 is signaling a -20% difference in the seasonal rate with sales expected to fall 67% in April compared to the seasonal projection.
- Historical trends typically yield a 12% increase month-over-month moving into May. However given the effect on social distancing on the current actualized pacing for April so far, May is still expected to fall -67% compared to the seasonal projection ahead of the pandemic.
TAKEAWAYS & NEXT STEPS
As data continues to actualize through March, it is expected that COVID-19 will continue to influence sale activity into Q2 2020. Increased travel restrictions could lead to higher search traffic opportunity. However given the downward trend in actualized sales to date, DEP recommends the following:
1 Maintain or decrease current sales campaign budget, and reallocate digital advertising budget to parts and service throughout May.
2 Sales campaigns with focused messaging on model research and vehicle comparisons.
3 Fixed ops campaigns with focused messaging such as, “We’re Here for Our Customers” or “Open for Business”.