Auto Trader reports healthy January demand

Retail prices and consumer demand have been healthy in the first few weeks of 2023.

According to the latest data from the Auto Trader Price Index, the current average price of a used car is £18,268, which is the highest value the Index has recorded since its launch in January 2011.

It marks a 2.8% year-on-year (YoY) increase on a like-for-like basis, and although the rate of growth is down significantly from a peak of 32% recorded in April 2022, this current rate is on top of the massive 31.3% YoY increase seen in January 2022.

Director of data and insights, Richard Walker said: “After a stable December, our data shows that the market entered 2023 with some real momentum behind it. Prices are stable, demand is robust, and the feedback we’ve been receiving from many of our retailer partners in the last few weeks supports our cautiously confident outlook for the market this year.” 

Whilst this positive trend in price growth has been seen across the retail market, the widely reported exception is electric vehicles (EVs), which have been impacted by contrasting market dynamics: the rate of growth in supply has accelerated past the growth in demand.

Walker added: “We have the broadest single view of EVs, and as our data highlights, the market is incredibly nuanced, and so a broad-brush rarely reflects the true picture. Retailers need to resist thinking all EV’s are in decline, as the data simply doesn’t support that. Those models that are seeing levels of supply grow at a faster rate than demand are experiencing a price adjustment, but there’s plenty of models where demand is as strong, if not stronger than supply, and as a result are selling quickly and offering great profit potential.”