Automotive data expert cap hpi has revealed the first month of the year saw a minor dip in the number of dealers reporting a monthly footfall increase in comparison to twelve months ago. 62% of dealers surveyed for 2017 said they experienced an increase in physical footfall over the previous month compared to 69% the previous year. A fifth (20%) said footfall was about the same as for December, but encouragingly, this is up on this time last year (17%).
The number of dealers indicating that January’s physical footfall had declined since December increased slightly against this same period in 2016.
Online activity is similar to the physical footfall being experienced, although those dealers reporting an increase in activity into January were significantly lower than this period in 2016, and again, those citing a decline had risen.
Stock availability has seen over a quarter (28%) reporting an improvement, varying slightly from the 29% who noted an improvement in January 2016. In line with last year’s figures, a third of dealers (30%) said it had deteriorated since December; however, 42% cited little or no change in stock availability.
Dealers reporting compression in retained margins remained in line with last year’s level, with a third (33%) in 2017 compared to 30% 12 months ago; however, a quarter still reported an increase, and a 43% majority reporting little or no change since December.
Finance penetration results remain similar to those indicated in January 2015, with a quarter (25%) reporting an increase compared to 23% last year. Consumer demand has seen potentially its largest change compared with the same period in 2016. The number of dealers indicating an increase heading into January from December has dropped from 67% to 55% this year, and those citing little or no change jumped from 17% to 26%.
Philip Nothard, consumer and retail specialist at cap hpi, said: “For January dealer confidence appears to be steady and overall it’s a strong start to the quarter with March orders building solid momentum. Imminent VED changes are already having an impacting on order books. The high level of pre-registrations and tactical product is sparking a great deal of debate around target achievements this year.”
With over 27 years’ experience in the motor trade, Philip brings an informed eye to developing industry insight and market commentary. He joined cap hpi in 2010 as Retail & Consumer Black Book Editor, where he was responsible for analysing pricing data and interpreting strategic trends in retail, consumer and trade markets. A widely experienced and highly successful automotive specialist, he has a wealth of knowledge gained at the most senior levels whilst working for blue-chip businesses within this sector. His experience helps him to interpret trends and raw data into contextual and meaningful insight. Philip’s career includes managing dealerships for independents, supermarkets and large PLC groups.
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