Why have the auto industry and dealerships been able to pivot and retail has not?
Thinking back to before COVID-19, I think it’s safe to say that car-buying was maybe one of the most archaic experiences around.
While much of retail became more digital in the last two decades, with the exception of being able to search for cars online, car buying for the most part was still largely done “old school:” in-person, from shopping to test-driving to financing.
At the onset of the pandemic, many car dealerships closed and car buying went on a hiatus, forcing the hand of many dealers who had been slow to integrate digital options for customers. A McKinsey report found that in April, in the U.S., car buying plummeted 47 percent.
However, in the months that followed, cars began to matter even more to consumers than they did pre-COVID-19, as drivers reported extending their use to traveling in order to “connect with the outside world in a safe way,” according to the study.