With Labor Day weekend fast approaching and the coronavirus pandemic still wreaking havoc with certain forms of transportation, like air travel, it seems anyone going anywhere is going to be doing so by car, truck or utility vehicle.
According to Cars.com, 60% of Americans plan to travel this Labor Day weekend, nearly double the amount compared to Memorial Day (34%), and 88% are planning to drive. Perhaps just as importantly, some of that driving is likely to involve a run to a nearby auto dealer or two.
The website’s research found due concerns about the pandemic, more than 50% of in-market shoppers are considering buying a car this weekend — much sooner than originally planned. Perhaps just as importantly, some of those purchases will defy current buying trends.
“We have tracked consumer sentiment about car buying and travel habits during the pandemic for months now — and our findings continue to show that more and more people are turning to car ownership because of the safety and freedom it provides,” said Kelsey Mays, senior consumer affairs editor, Cars.com.
“And, interestingly enough, this new generation of buyers – many who previously did not own a car, particularly in urban areas – are looking at sedans over the typically popular SUVs or crossovers as their vehicle of choice.”
While a slight majority of those surveyed by the site said they planned to buy a vehicle, nearly two-thirds, 64%, accelerated their purchase plans as a result of the pandemic. As surprising as the motivation to buy sooner may be, what those polled said they wanted to buy is even more stunning: sedans.
Currently, trucks and utility vehicles account for more than 70% of all new vehicles bought —a trend that has been rising for more than a decade and continues to do so. However, this weekend 41% of shoppers are looking for a sedan. That’s followed up by 39% looking for SUVs/crossovers.
Honda, Toyota, Kia and Hyundai dealers should expect brisk traffic during the three-day holiday by that measure. Cars.com noted that searches for sedans jumped 14 percentage points than the growth in overall search activity from April to June this year.
As has been chronicled by TheDetroitBureau.com already, the shift toward contactless shopping and buying will be on display this three-day weekend.
- 50% of shoppers plan to use online/digital tools for their purchase.
- 43% plan to set up virtual appointments and take advantage of video walkarounds.
- 48% plan to use a home-delivery option from their local dealership.
If buyers get their vehicles early during the holiday weekend, they are likely to show them off to folks further away than on Memorial Day. Regardless, new vehicle or current car, 26% plan to travel more than 100 miles and 49% plan to be gone the entire weekend or longer, the website noted.
Aside from buying a new vehicle during the holiday, 42% will visit family or friends, 36% will go to the beach in a safe manner and 22% plan to visit a state or national park.