CarGurus Releases Latest COVID-19 Sentiment Study in Canada


CarGurus released its second Canadian COVID-19 Sentiment Study.

When compared to the April CarGurus Canada COVID-19 Sentiment Study, this latest analysis shows that consumers have had a sustained, high interest in purchasing vehicles amid the pandemic.

In June 2020, CarGurus surveyed 505 shoppers on their sentiments toward car buying during the COVID-19 pandemic. All respondents had intentions to buy a vehicle in 2020, either before or after the pandemic. In April, CarGurus surveyed 500 shoppers as the first iteration of this benchmarking study.

“The benchmarked CarGurus Canada COVID-19 Sentiment Study showed us that while 2020 Canadian auto sales may be lagging, they are certainly not lost due to the pandemic,” said Madison Gross, director of customer insights at CarGurus. “The study also shows us that COVID-19 has caused vehicle ownership to become more vital to consumers’ everyday lives, often replacing other transportation methods such as ride-sharing or public transit.”

The study’s major findings include:

Fewer shoppers reported delaying car purchases in June versus April, and most vehicle sales are not lost in the long-term due to the pandemic. In addition, COVID-19 has even stimulated some new demand for vehicles:

  • In June, 78 per cent of car shoppers reported delaying their car purchases, down from 87 per cent in April
  • Only two per cent of those who had planned to buy in 2020 before the pandemic have now delayed their purchase indefinitely, down from six per cent in April
  • 21 per cent of those who either currently plan to purchase in 2020 but have yet to do so, or already purchased a vehicle in 2020, had actually not planned to buy a vehicle before the pandemic

Additionally, vehicles are becoming more vital to consumers’ everyday lives as they emerge from the Spring lockdown and reconsider what mobility looks like in the long-term:

  • 41 per cent of respondents who previously used taxis or ride-sharing, and 50 per cent of those who previously used public transportation, expect to decrease their use of these services—or stop using them entirely
  • 45 per cent of respondents say they see their car as an escape or for fun and 32 per cent of respondents say they expect to use their car more going forward than before the pandemic

Across all industries, brands have adjusted their marketing and customer communications to the COVID-19 crisis, and this latest study looks specifically at the car shopper reaction to how automotive brands responded to the pandemic. The study found:

  • The top brands car shoppers recognized as having responded well to the crisis were Ford (18 per cent), Toyota (17 per cent), Honda (15 per cent), BMW (10 per cent), and Hyundai (10 per cent)
  • 30 per cent of car shoppers said no auto brands stood out as having responded well to the COVID-19 crisis

The benchmarked CarGurus Canadian COVID-19 Sentiment Study’s full findings can be downloaded here.