After a quiet Easter weekend, the situation changed for the better on Monday, particularly for certain regions. Car dealers are gradually resuming activities, and the signals are clear. The statistics don’t lie and we see several encouraging signs. Let’s go through the statistics from the past few days.
Quebec Comes Out of its Shell
Quebec stands out in this 5th week of confinement. Announcements were made last Monday by the Legault government about the partial reopening of car dealerships, and consumers rushed out to visit. They went primarily for maintenance, but the impact is also felt in the increasing number of opportunities.
- Traffic jumped from 53% last week to 83% for the first three days of this week, compared to our reference week before the crisis.
- An important fact is that organic traffic has doubled since last week, even being 10% higher than the period before the crisis. These numbers are more than reassuring. Indeed, the reduction in traffic at this time is only due to the 50% drop in paid traffic, which corresponds to 65% of investments.
- We are seeing a significant increase in traffic this week for dealers who have continued to invest in advertising. With a cost per click that is almost cut in half (below $0.90 in several regions), these dealers have an incredible return on investment.
- The level of incoming telephone calls has jumped since Monday to record levels, reaching 185% of the pre-crisis period for yesterday (Wednesday). Garages will definitely be very busy for several weeks.
Ontario is Improving
We don’t see the same dramatic leap in Ontario as in Quebec. However there is still an upward trend since Monday. Traffic went from 65% to 75% from last week to this week. This 10% increase has been significant and constant over the past three days. Opportunities followed the same upward trend.
The additional traffic appears to come from auto buyers, rather than from after-sales service visitors. The number of phone calls has remained stable (65% of regular calls), which suggests that customers are shopping more online. The opportunities generated by online chat remain very popular, with a 125% relative increase in activity compared to the pre-crisis period.
Western Canada Shows Encouraging Signs
Much like Ontario, traffic increased 10% at the start of the week. We have returned above the psychological barrier of 70% for the average of the last three days. It’s on the phone that Western Canada stands out from Ontario. Although call volume did not return to pre-crisis levels (50% less than usual), it still gained 40% compared to last week.
The Maritimes Remain Active
Less affected than the rest of Canada by COVID-19, the Maritimes are constantly maintaining a level above the 80% for online traffic and incoming telephone calls. We recorded several days between 70 – 79% in the past two weeks, but nothing comparable with the other Canadian provinces.
In summary, this recovery certainly brings much needed optimism to the Canadian auto sales industry. Along with the arrival of good weather, dealers should prepare to take advantage of the opportunities that arise. From both a marketing and a procedural perspective, those who adjust quickly and bounce back first will benefit the most. In fact, we received several testimonials from dealers who sold new and used vehicles to customers located more than 500 km from their place of business. The reason is simple, they were the only ones PRESENT. “Never let a good crisis go to waste!”