Similar to other economic sectors, the automotive industry in the UAE also experienced the impact of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Despite the new challenges, the year 2020 has certainly ended on a positive note for the used car market marked by an increase in market activities and heightened customer confidence post-lockdown.
When the number of Covid-19 cases started to rise in March, the used car market also had to deal with high levels of uncertainty. Transactions were held off due to the fear of social interaction. Despite the initial drop during the lockdown in April 2020, the market has shown extraordinary strength and resilience as it bounced back by the end of July:
- In August 2020, dubizzle saw a record number of 6.21 million visitors, which is indicative of interest returning to the market once buyers and sellers could adapt to the new circumstances.
- A total of 110,000 new sellers have chosen dubizzle in 2020, highlighting a healthy balance of demand and supply.
- More than 225,000 new listings of used cars have been added in one year.
Moreover, the government’s economic stimulus packages that contributed to the recovery in most sectors have also lent support to the auto trade market. Initiatives and relief packages exclusively targeted towards the automotive sector, like online registration facilities and suspension of pending fines, have also proved fruitful in keeping the market afloat.
Consequently, consumer confidence has been restored in the market as evident from the data collected from dubbizle and consumer surveys.
- Nearly 60% of the respondents have shown willingness to buy a car in the next six months.
- 90% of those respondents include looking at used cars as part of their search criteria
- Affordability, value for money and depreciation have stood out as the top driving factors.
Mercedes-Benz Leads in Popularity
dubizzle has seen growing inventory in 2020 with well over 78 car brands listed on the portal. Mercedes-Benz has been the most viewed car make followed by Toyota, Nissan, BMW and Ford. Accordingly, the most popular models have also belonged to these aforementioned brands.
- Nissan Patrol and Toyota Land Cruiser have remained the popular choices in 2020, indicating an unwavering interest in SUVs across the UAE.
- In contrast, a good number of users have also looked for Mercedes S Class, which is an upscale sedan, followed by Mercedes C Class and Mercedes E Class.
- Cost-effective models like Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima have made it to the list of top ten car models in 2020.
SUVs Remain in Demand
Owing to their passenger capacity, spacious cabins and off-road capabilities, SUVs have remained the most popular body type searched by dubizzle users. As mentioned above, SUVs also make for the top two most popular models on dubizzle.
While 35% of the users have searched for SUVs, a close 34% of interest buyers have also shown an interest in sedans. The high-end Mercedes Benz S-Class leads this category, followed by the affordable and fuel-efficient Toyota Camry.
Buyers are Cost-Conscious
Since affordability has remained a major deciding factor, it’s unsurprising that nearly 44% of dubizzle users have looked for cars under AED 50,000, resulting in higher views for models like Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima.
However, there has been a growing interest in upscale models ranging between AED 50,000 to AED 100,000 as well. Nearly 24% of users have shown an interest in models like Mercedes-Benz C and E Class and Ford Mustang.
Interestingly, high-end models have also captured the interest of prospective buyers as 14% of users searched for vehicles that cost well over AED 200,000. Super-luxury models like the rare 1962 Ferrari, Bugatti Chiron 2019 and W Motors Fenyr Hypersport 2021 have also been listed on dubizzle recently, showing that there is interest for exclusive, iconic models that are hard to procure.
Supply Meets Demand on dubizzle
According to dubizzle’s data, there has been a good balance of demand and supply in 2020 with most major dealers optimising their inventory according to users’ interest.
- The most popular models, Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima, have also been the most advertised models on dubizzle.
- GCC specs have remained the popular choice and most commonly available option with a whopping 71% of the total used car market share.
- Most users have searched for 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder vehicles, for which there was a healthy inventory on dubizzle in 2020.
- Due to this balance of supply and demand, the average response time for cars listed on dubizzle was approximately 2 hours.
Moreover, sellers’ confidence in the platform has remained strong due to a high number of inquiries and activities. In this regard, SellerAssist by dubizzle Pro has also played a significant role in making dubizzle a seller-friendly platform.
Haider Ali Khan, the CEO of Bayut & dubizzle and the Head of EMPG MENA shared his views on the UAE’s used car market performance in 2020 and said: “The last year has been an exceptional learning curve for all of us. Not only did we have to face the uncertainties presented by the pandemic, but we also had to streamline the processes post the merger of Bayut & dubizzle in the region. Despite these unique circumstances, the year has ended on a remarkably positive note for the user cars market in the UAE. It’s understandable that more residents have been looking for personal conveyance to minimise the risk posed by public transportation and this trend may continue in the years to come. This sentiment has also been echoed in the responses to our surveys.
With a market share of over 73%, dubizzle already has a strong foothold in the UAE’s used car sector. By understanding the challenges for both buyers and sellers, we are actively playing our role in sustaining their confidence in the market. We will continue to strive to deliver a better experience and more value to our users no matter the circumstances.
Overall, the used car market in the UAE has shown strength, resilience and a remarkable recovery in 2020. We are optimistic about the year ahead as the government continues to effectively combat the pandemic across the country.”