Car shopping moves online

One thing that can be attributed to the pandemic was a surge in online car shopping.

Used car shopping website Carvana sold 39% more cars in the third quarter of 2020 than in 2019. Vroom, another online used car seller, sold 59% more cars in that same period.

These companies’ sales were already rising before, but “the pandemic has just accelerated all of that, maybe to the tune of several years,” said Carvana CEO Ernest Garcia.

At the start of 2020, JD Power began surveying new car shoppers about their online experiences. Between January and April, when lockdowns were in place in much of the US, the number of car shoppers who selected a vehicle online increased by 63%, while shoppers getting credit approval online more than doubled.

Online car shopping has far from taken over the new car shopping business, though. Even with big shifts online, paperwork-intensive parts of the process are, in particular, still being done mostly in person.

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