Sainsbury's Finance Car Buying Index: Downward Dip in Demand for New and Used Cars

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Collectively people plan to spend £40.2 billion in the next six months on new and used cars (1). 22% of those purchasing a car in the next six months intends to use a loan to do so. Sainsbury’s Finance has further reduced its best buy personal loan rate to 6.3% APR Representative for loans between £7,500 and £14,999 until 23rd September.

After a steady increase in our index for two years, this decline is a real indication of how the economy is affecting people's car buying plans.

The latest figures from the Sainsbury’s Finance Car Buying Index, which has been tracking the number of people planning to purchase a car on a six-monthly basis since 2003, reveal that demand in the new and used car market is set to decline over the next six months. The findings(1) indicate that 5.56 million people (11.3%) intend to buy a car during the period of September 2011 to February 2012, which represents a 22% decrease on the 7.15 million (15.5%) people cited in March 2011 and a 28% decrease on 12 months ago (which stood at 7.7m/16.7% of respondents)(2).

The findings reveal that collective planned spend on new and used cars over the next six months is £40.2 billion(1), a 22% decrease on the £51.3 billion consumers intended to spend six months ago, which at the time was a three year high(2). However, the average amount people expect to spend on their car purchase has increased slightly to £7,236, £67 more than six months ago.

Steven Baillie, Head of Loans, Sainsbury’s Finance said: “After a steady increase in our index for two years, this decline is a real indication of how the economy is affecting people's car buying plans. There has been a significant drop off in the number of people who intend to purchase a car in the next six months, which may give those still planning to change their car a real opportunity to flex their bargaining power as the industry competes for custom."

The latest index suggests that more than one in five (22% / 1.2m) people planning to buy a new or used car over the next six months will look to at least part finance their purchase with a personal loan. This is up from six months ago when one in five (19%) looked to do so. Of the total amount that will be spent the research suggests around 14%, equivalent to £5.6 billion, will be financed by personal loans. The corresponding percentage was 12% (£6.2 billion) in March 2011.

Steven Baillie added: “Those people who intend to finance some of their car purchase with a loan can help to offset some of the anticipated increase in spend by shopping around for the best rate. We currently offer our customers best buy loans and the choice of a Nectar reward with or without a gift card."

Sainsbury’s Finance research indicates that 4.36 million people (9%) will be looking to buy a second-hand car, down by 1.29 million on the previous six months’ figure (Last time, 12% reported intending to buy a second hand car). The 1.08 million people (2.2%) looking to buy a brand new car is also down by 200,000 on the previous half-year (last measured at 2.8%). Some 1.22 million (21.2%) people anticipate spending more than £10,000 on a car, while 486,000 (8.5%) say they plan to spend more than £20,000.

Across Britain as a whole, East Anglia looks set to see the biggest increase in the number of people purchasing cars with an increase of six percentage points on the previous six month period(3). Most regions look set for a decrease in the number of car buyers, however, with Greater London set to see the biggest drop in demand of nine percentage points.

The South East is once again set to see the biggest amount of money spent on cars and car insurance, with an intended spend of £8.2 billion from people in this region on cars alone.

In addition to a best buy or market leading rate, customers taking out a Sainsbury’s Finance Loan benefit from:

  •     No set up fee
  •     A personally tailored repayment period, from 1 to 7 years
  •     Fixed repayments for the whole period of the loan
  •     An instant decision
  •     Money transferred directly into their bank account

For further information on Sainsbury’s Finance Loans, call 0800 169 8503, log onto Sainsbury's Finance or pick up a leaflet in your Sainsbury’s supermarket.

Notes to editors:
(1) Research conducted by TNS with 2,009 people over weekends 29-31st July and 5th – 7th August 2011. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 16+). The consumer omnibus research conducted by TNS uses a large sample size that reflects the demographic profile of GB. Given this it is possible to extrapolate figures for GB from the research results within appropriate confidence intervals.
(2) Analysis of Sainsbury's Finance Car Buying Indices.
(3) Total regional spend is an estimate and is calculated using weighted figures of the number of people from each region who are intending to purchase a car multiplied by the estimated mean average spend on purchasing a car for each region.


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Tom Wilson
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