Some normalcy is returning to the global autos sector, one of the most hard-hit industries by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new McKinsey & Co. report. Rolling research by the management consulting firm has found that consumers are tentatively returning to car dealerships, which are trying to source more vehicles to put on their forecourts.
Meanwhile, passengers are venturing back to shared mobility services and public transit in greater numbers, notwithstanding the impact of remote working on the number of journeys made.
“Globally, consumers’ intent to purchase cars is close to pre-Covid-19 levels, fuelled by positive outlooks in the United States and China,” stated the survey.
Drivers’ intent to purchase new and used cars over the coming year is almost back to pre-Covid-19 levels (new cars at 94% versus pre-Covid-19 levels and up by 7% over September 2020; used cars at 97% versus pre-Covid-19 levels, up by 1% compared to September 2020), added the report.
Electric vehicles have seen strong growth in purchase intent, particularly in Europe and China, boosted by government incentives and consumer sustainability concerns.
However, the pandemic and the resulting social distancing are felt in the continued shift from brick-and-mortar to online purchasing patterns.
“Prospective buyers are less inclined to want to interact with sellers at car dealerships. That decline in preference is falling across all regions and age groups — especially for consumers between 55 and 70 years of age, who now consider online buying as a relevant alternative to visiting dealers,” stated the report.
However, McKinsey added that interest in buying cars entirely online remains flat at 59% globally, albeit with regional variation.
The seventh wave of the McKinsey Global COVID-19 Auto & Mobility Consumer Survey, was conducted from June 1–4. The management consulting firm is regularly surveying consumers in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and China on their mobility behaviors and plans around car buying and servicing.