Thank you to SimilarWeb, for the great annual summary of web traffic in automotive1. The big picture update on automotive web traffic and the long term trends are very positive. Traffic is stable and the top five websites in automotive2 haven’t changed a lot.

  1. cargurus.com
  2. kbb.com
  3. autotrader.com
  4. carfax.com
  5. cars.com

They noted that while total category growth was 3.4%1 carvana.com, saw huge growth last year at 93.9% over prior year in monthly unique visitors2, but the current picture looks different.

More recently, Google Trends gives evidence that consumer’s focus on searching for a car right now has softened. The top five non-branded organic keywords SimilarWeb shared for driving desktop traffic to the category last year were: car loan calculator, used car, car value, auto loan calculator, and used tesla2. If you look at relative searches against those key terms now, it’s really fallen off since it’s recent peak week of Feb 29th. The two full weeks of data that follow and the final point of the current week with partial data, are all trending down.

Non-Branded Terms Interest Over Time

Source: Google Trends accessed March 18, 2020

Key Terms + CarMax & Carvana Interest Over Time

Adding in CarMax and even trend-busting Carvana doesn’t change the pattern.

Source: Google Trends accessed March 18, 2020

Key Brands Interest Over Time

Adding in Penske, Lithia, and AutoNation again is similar.

Source: Google Trends accessed March 18, 2020

Key Terms/Brands + Coronavirus Interest Over Time

Finally, adding in coronavirus, give the perspective that all of these terms drop proportionally to a flat line, when mapped against the current focus of searching.

Source: Google Trends, accessed March 18, 2020
See the evolution of search volume in a live version of this chart below.

If you are seeing a dip in interest you are not alone. Keeping perspective and sensitivity to our customer’s world is key. While purchasing a car has been eclipsed by other concerns right this moment for most people, the long-term view is solid. Transportation continues to be a basic need. Being able to get around independently is even more important than ever as we practice social distancing. Dealers are doing great work adjusting process to keep customers safe while still providing the core services they are counted on to deliver. Many are preparing digital options, so consumers can choose the experience that best fits their needs.

Know that we are here to help and support in this challenging time. We have received positive feedback on both our new free BDC offer and the availability of GM iMR funds and will continue to seek and expand ways to better serve the dealership community.

As we all work through the changing environment, be well, stay safe and remain solidly focused on the long view.

Live: Key Terms/Brands Interest Over Time

Below are live charts so you can see how the search volume continues to evolve. Look forward to the automotive terms tipping upwards again and coronavirus coming down.

Live: Key Terms/Brands + Coronavirus Interest Over Time

Sources:

  1. Liron Hakim Bobrov, Sarah Mehlman. “Digital State of the US Automotive Industry.” SimilarWeb. March, 2020.
  2. SimilarWeb. “Digital 100.” https://www.similarweb.com/corp/digital-100/#auto