CarGurus Study Uncovers How Pandemic Impacted Canadian Automotive Industry in 2020

December 4, 2020
Interest in Digital Retail is Up, While Public Transit and Ride Sharing are Down

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 04, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CarGurus (Nasdaq: CARG), a leading global online automotive marketplace, today released its “CarGurus COVID-19 Sentiment Study: How the Pandemic Impacted Automotive Sentiment in 2020” that examines how auto shoppers have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. The November research benchmarks and compares the previous CarGurus studies that were run in both April and June and explores topics such as vehicle inventory, affordability, digital retail and ride-sharing/public transit.

“When compared to our previous research, the latest CarGurus COVID-19 Sentiment Study paints a consistent picture that points to a silver lining for the Canadian auto industry amid the pandemic,” said Madison Gross, Director of Consumer Insights at CarGurus. “Over the course of the year, we have seen car shoppers delay but not cancel their purchases, a shift from public transit and ride-hailing towards vehicle ownership and an increase in openness around buying a car online. When coupled with the automotive industry’s current high demand and low supply, it is likely for these trends to continue into next year.”

The study’s major findings include:
Inventory and Pricing Perception
The pandemic has disrupted vehicle inventory, and many shoppers have taken notice of its impact on selection and pricing:

  • Pandemic buyers were nearly 2x more likely to say prices were lower than expected, when compared with those who are currently shopping (36% vs. 19%).
  • 10% of those who bought during the pandemic said vehicle selection was much worse than expected and 21% said it seemed somewhat worse.

Digital Retail
As the pandemic continues, comfort and familiarity with online shopping tools has grown and shoppers are increasingly considering digital retail options when looking for a vehicle:

  • Before the pandemic, 26% of respondents said they were open to buying a vehicle online and that has increased to 50% as of the most recent November research. This openness to buying online has not wavered since June (55%) or April (60%)—despite dealerships reopening across the country.
  • Even though shoppers are becoming more open to digital retail, only 37% would prefer to buy a vehicle in this manner. In particular, shoppers are more likely to prefer online price negotiation (68%) and online financing (50%).

Public Transit and Ride-Sharing
The pandemic has disrupted many facets of people’s lives and that includes how they travel from place to place and how they view vehicle ownership.

  • As of November, 43% of previous rideshare users and 49% of public transportation users expect to decrease or stop their use of these services. This has remained fairly consistent over the course of the pandemic (41% in June, 51% in April for ride sharing; 50% in June and 54% April for public transportation).
  • Vehicles offered people an entertaining diversion during the pandemic with 46% of purchasers using their car more for road trips or longer drives, and 44% agreeing that they see their cars as a source of escape or fun during this time.

The benchmarked CarGurus COVID-19 Sentiment Study’s full findings can be downloaded here and any questions about the analysis can be sent to

Throughout 2020, CarGurus has surveyed over 1,500 shoppers on their sentiments toward car shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently in November, CarGurus surveyed 502 shoppers who had intentions of buying a vehicle in 2020 or 2021. CarGurus also surveyed 505 shoppers in June and 500 shoppers in April for earlier iterations of this benchmarking study.

About CarGurus
Founded in 2006, CarGurus (Nasdaq: CARG) is a global, online automotive marketplace connecting buyers and sellers of new and used cars. The Company uses proprietary technology, search algorithms and data analytics to bring trust and transparency to the automotive search experience and help users find great deals from top-rated dealers. CarGurus is the most visited automotive shopping site in the U.S. (source: Comscore Media Metrix® Multi-Platform, Automotive – Information/Resources, Total Audience, Q3 2020, U.S. (Competitive set includes: In addition to the United States, CarGurus operates online marketplaces in Canada and the United Kingdom.

To learn more about CarGurus, visit
CarGurus® is a registered trademark of CarGurus, Inc.
© 2020 CarGurus, Inc., All Rights Reserved

Brian Kramer

Primary Logo

Source: CarGurus, Inc.