Dealer sentiment points towards multi-channel future

Dealers will increasingly adopt a multi-channel approach to their stock acquisition, according to the latest sentiment survey by Cox Automotive UK.

Two-fifths of dealers say they have increased their use of digital auction platforms due to lockdown, with 49% of those indicating this will be a long-term change. Just 7% say they have no intention to buy digitally, while one in five say they’re going online in the short-term but will return to physical as soon as possible.


Two-thirds of those surveyed say they expect their use of physical auctions to stay at pre-Covid-19 levels in the medium to long term, while 13% actually expect their usage to increase. Although 23% say they will either decrease or stop attending altogether in the short to medium term, that figure falls to 11% when asked about their medium to long term intentions.


Philip Nothard, Customer Insight & Strategy Director at Cox Automotive comments: “Half of the dealers who responded were using online platforms prior to Covid-19, but there’s no doubt the lockdown has accelerated adoption amongst those yet to embrace digital auctions. For a sizeable proportion, the survey indicates that this usage will continue to become the ‘new normal’.


“However, it’s also evident that when auction halls can safely reopen, plenty will be keen to once again be back in the lanes. Despite the inherent efficiency and convenience of digital channels, the social interaction, hands on access, and pure theatre of the physical auction remains a powerful attraction.


“As lockdown eases and the used market continues to build momentum, we advise dealers to maintain a flexible mindset and take advantage of the respective benefits of both channels. With demand expected to outstrip supply for the remainder of this year, dealers need to put themselves in a position to strike decisively on the vehicles they can retail successfully.”