Data from consumer credit reporting agency TransUnion SA provides a temperature gauge of the types of cars being bought, both new and second-hand, in South Africa right now.
Total financial agreement volumes in the passenger market increased by 5% from Q3 2020 to Q3 2021. New passenger finance deals increased YoY by 8% and used passenger deals increased 11%.
Consumer buying patterns indicated more than 70% of total new and used financed vehicles are hatchbacks and SUVs. Almost half are financed by consumers aged between 26 and 40, with a larger percentage for used vehicles.
New SUVs financed made up 32% of all new vehicles financed, indicating consumers are looking for practicality, TransUnion said.
The TransUnion SA Vehicle Pricing Index (VPI) for new and used vehicles moved from 7.6% and 2.3% in Q3 2020 to 3.8% and 5.9% in Q3 2021, respectively.
The index measures the relationship between the increase in vehicle pricing for new and used vehicles from a basket of passenger vehicles incorporating 15 top volume manufacturers.
Toyota and VW have done well in both areas sharing the top two spots in new and used; although Renault, Hyundai and Suzuki had a great quarter alongside VW in new passenger vehicles.
WeBuyCars reveals buying trends in South Africa
With monthly sales exceeding the 9,000 mark per month, WeBuyCars’ insight of the automotive sector shows significant differences in consumer behaviour from different regions around the country.
“Our data shows that a vehicle is most likely to change ownership five to six times during its lifetime, that new car owners tend to keep their vehicles for six years, and second-hand car owners for three,” said Faan van der Walt, executive director of WeBuyCars.
When looking at buying trends in various provinces over the last few months, Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal make up around 83% of all purchases. Gauteng accounts for 43%, while Western Cape accounts for 25% and KwaZulu-Natal for 15%.
The typical KwaZulu-Natal buyer tends to buy and sell more frequently than customers from other provinces, keeping their cars for an average of around four years, selling a newer vehicle of higher value to trade up and rely on bank finance.
Buyers in the Western Cape tend to buy with cash, hold onto their cars for longer and maintain their cars’ service histories – while Gauteng buyers tend to be a combination of the two.
“Twenty years ago, when WeBuyCars was established, we did not aim to become such a large business, but a combination of luck, circumstances and a deep understanding of delivering based on what our customers want and need has allowed us to grow into a significant business with turnover close to R12 billion,” said the executive director.
“Over the years we have relied greatly on industry and provincial trends when making business decisions. We need to know where consumers are located and what their needs are so that we can provide them with the best selection that meets their requirements.”
This is especially true for deciding which vehicles will be sold in which province. Across five provinces – Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga – Volkswagen is the most popular brand.
Ford reigns supreme in the Free State and Limpopo, whilst Toyota takes the lead in the North-West and Northern Cape.
WeBuyCars said if it were to split purchases by age groups into 15-year brackets, most of the vehicles purchased are from people falling into the age group of 30 to 44 years old. This age group roughly accounts for around 37% of all purchases. Second is the 45 to 59 age group, accounting for 28% of all purchases.
“These age group trends do not differ across the provinces. We also see that the age group we buy the least number of cars from are the 75 to 89 age bin which roughly accounts for 2.6% of all purchases,” said Van der Walt.
The price bracket in which most WeBuyCars vehicles are bought is between R40,000 to R80,000, with the R120,000 – R200,000 mark being a strong second.
Aligned with the surge in online purchasing and auction sales, WeBuyCars said its Gauteng branches make up for more than half of all online sales. Midstream is the group’s best-performing branch with reference to online vehicle sales – currently accounting for around 25% of online sales.
With the recent opening of its Germiston branch in June and the opening of the Dome on the horizon, WeBuyCars said it expects Gauteng to account for an even larger portion of sales online and offline in due course.
Even though the majority of their vehicle sales are still offline, WeBuyCars said it is experiencing a healthy ratio between online and offline sales across all eight branches.