Even with the very real effects of the lockdown and the resulting impact on the economy, WeBuyCars says it has seen a significant increase in its warehouse and online trading figures in the last two months.
The significant upswing in uncertainty brought about by the various levels of lockdown was particularly apparent in WeBuyCars’ data analysis of the price point of vehicles being both sold and bought.
Despite not being able to trade for three months, July figures were excellent with a record 6,551 vehicles purchased. August, September and October figures have followed suit, with October showing a 10% YoY increase.
According to Aniello Human, head of data science at WeBuyCars, it’s important to look at data that covers both buying and selling patterns to get the full picture of how the used-car sector fared in recent months.
While the group experienced low stock levels of lower-range, entry-level models, there was a clear supply of more expensive models and a greater demand for lower models.
Human said the most notable change is that from February to July WeBuyCars bought far fewer cars in the R40,000 and under bracket but greater numbers in the R120,000 to R300,000 categories.
He said the correct way of interpreting this is to view the percentage of leads according to price brackets.
“We noticed that we received far fewer buy leads in the lower price range end, attributed to people holding onto inexpensive cars and wanting to sell more expensive models, possibly to release some cash, which makes sense given the economic uncertainty and the huge upswing in remote working.”
Of the most common models WeBuyCars usually purchases, it saw an increase in the percentage of:
- Hyundai i10 and i20s;
- Toyota Corolla;
- Ford Figo and Fiesta.
However, there was a clear decrease in the numbers of:
- BMW 3-Series;
- Toyota Hilux;
- Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Ford Rangers and Volkswagen Polos remained fairly constant. Human said these patterns are now normalising to pre-lockdown patterns.
WeBuyCars saw increased significant interest in online viewing and trading patterns. The group started to see the very real effects of lockdown from April to end June where customer visits to its warehouses ceased altogether due to lockdown regulations, but online activity tells a very different story.
While April 2020 saw 560,000 website visits compared to 1,071,000 over the same period in 2019, the number of website visits started to increase noticeably from May 2020 onwards with 1,432,000 visits compared to 1,246,000 the year before.
These numbers then skyrocketed from June onwards, with August 2020 numbers more than double the same period last year.
“E-commerce has been a silver lining for us, and the increase in numbers is encouraging,” said Faan van der Walt, chief executive officer at WeBuyCars.
“We can attribute this to people having more time on their hands or a greater global adoption of online browsing and shopping, and while we believe that this influenced the growth of our online segment, we did not expect it to grow at the speed at which it did. We’re talking about big numbers when buying or selling a car online and believe that the big upswing was also influenced by the levels of trust our customers have in our systems and processes.”