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Covid-19 reopening: timeline for car shoppers to return to dealerships

Out of 575 survey participants in the U.S. who delayed purchasing a new vehicle during Covid-19 restrictions in 2020, nearly half of the participants claimed that they would feel comfortable buying a vehicle from a dealership within 30 days of the restrictions being lifted. Only three percent of respondents said that they would wait at least six months after restrictions have been lifted.

Restrictions in the U.S.

Like many countries worldwide, measures to slow down and control the spread of Covid-19 on a national scale were implemented across several U.S. states. Such measures included the temporary closure of schools, bars, restaurants, and movie theaters, along with the cancellation or postponement of several large public events. While online activity in the U.S. has steadily increased during the pandemic, e-tailers in the automotive industry are predicting a decrease in sales: projected auto sales growth for 2020 in the U.S. are anticipated to be 26.6 percent below the level one year earlier.

Post-lockdown behavior

Respondents in this survey were also asked whether they would feel comfortable performing other activities after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. A total of 48 percent of respondents stated that they were comfortable buying a vehicle from a dealership within a month of restrictions being lifted, 67 percent claimed that they would feel comfortable returning to work, 51 percent would dine in at a restaurant, and only 22 percent would travel via airplane.

Percentage of U.S. respondents who are comfortable purchasing a vehicle from a dealership once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, as of May 2020

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Release date

May 2020


United States

Survey time period

May 2020

Number of respondents

575 respondents

Age group

18-70 years

Special properties

all participants intend to purchase within the next six months

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

The original question read was posed as follows: "How soon would you be comfortable purchasing a vehicle from a dealership once your local government lifts quarantines and dealerships re-open for business as usual?"

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Statistics on "Auto dealers in the United States"

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