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Ipsos Vehicle Purchase Intent COVID Aug2020Although automotive advertisers anticipate their sector to be one of the areas hit hardest by COVID-19, it turns out that the auto industry may not be as bad off as originally assumed. Recent data [press release] from Ipsos finds that, while the number of US vehicle owners intending to purchase a vehicle in the next 18 months has decreased since the COVID-19 outbreak, the percentages have not dropped drastically from pre-COVID-19 intentions.

The global study found that of the 2,000 new vehicle owners surveyed in the US prior to COVID-19, about two-fifths (39%) expressed the intention to purchase a vehicle within the next 18 months. And, despite a reported drop in auto sales in March and April of this year, by June, the percentage of vehicle intenders had only dropped by four percentage points to 35%.

This matches up with a similar decline in demand in China, which boasts some of the highest percentages in demand both pre- and post- COVID-19. In the time prior to the pandemic, 70% of new vehicle owners in China intended to purchase an automobile within 18 months, with this figure dropping only 3 points to 67% in June 2020.

Safety was the biggest reason for purchase intenders to increase or maintain their intentions post-COVID-19, with more than half (56%) saying that they feel safer or more protected from the virus driving their personal vehicle than any other mode of transportation. Other reasons include not letting the outbreak impact plans to purchase a new vehicle (28%), while some believed there would be great deals to purchase or lease a new vehicle (19%).

One area that seemingly has not been impacted by COVID-19 is the interest in autonomous features. US vehicle owners appear to have a relatively low interest in autonomous features, with little more than one-quarter (28%) expressing interest in 2020 (compared to 27% in 2019). Conversely, 77% of Chinese vehicle owners surveyed expressed interest in these features this year (unchanged from 2019).

About the Data: Based on a survey of 22,000 new vehicle owners ages 18-74 in the US, China, Japan, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Russia and India.

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