This series of daily bulletins seeks to monitor at a high level how new vehicle demand has been tracking in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As each state navigates policy on how to best deal with the competing forces of the virus and economic fallout, we will continue to report on shopper demand, monitoring as it evolves and responds to this ever changing environment.
Using national and state data, we present some demand highlights of how vehicle categories and brands have performed during this volatile period, generally tracking data from day to day, as moving averages, and in comparison to the equivalent period of the prior year.
Shopper Demand levels and comparisons to the Prior Year
Figure 2 (a) tracks the industry national trend in Shopper Demand (using an indexed 7 day moving average metric) and plots this Shopper Demand for 2020 and 2019. Since the start of June the difference in demand this year compared to last year has been evident, with a significant gap appearing in the first half of the month, followed by a complete divergence in demand tracks in the second half of the month, now leaving industry demand tracking almost 40% below 2019 levels on a 7-day moving average basis and over 23% below on a 30-day moving average basis.
The 30 day moving average picture, in Figure 2 (b), emphasises this point, adding how Shopper demand tracked in 2018, which was again significantly above current levels. The Shopper Demand in 2020 is now significantly lower than both 2019 and 2018, and in fact lower than 2017, with the lowest Shopper Demand in June for 5 years. This reduction in demand may be attributable to other factors as well as the pandemic, and in fact comparisons to 2019 may be challenging as 2019 had almost unprecedented growth from mid-June until the end of July. Also, conversely, the pent-up demand build over the period of State’s shelter in place polices may have temporarily altered shopping patterns.