For the last couple of years now; as most of you who follow us would recall, we have been talking about the mobility transformation and future of transportation and their effects on auto retailing as we know it today.
Throughout this time, some of you have dug your heels and profusely disagreed with our position regarding the future of transportation. As in any other subject in life one thing that is constant is change. While certain indicators may have suggested that an eminent transformation may have been in the horizon, it was also driven by the constant change.
Beginning of this year, our world got hit with one of the most widely spread, highly politicized, profoundly confining and economically damaging pandemic. Since it surfaced in China late last year, the world and its inhabitants have been taken hostage by it. Businesses are disrupted, people are unemployed, fear has turned people against one another and most importantly it has impacted mental health and happiness of most people. Yes, this last change impacted the momentum of the mobility transformation significantly.
For those of you who are the conservative thinking retailers you can breathe now since this change may be on the back burner for quite some time. While we must still take this opportunity and benefit from this time gap to prepare, retail industry will now have an unexpected opportunity to bounce back and flourish again and here are the reasons why.
The sensitivity of social distancing driven by the pandemic, dramatically reduced consumer’s desire to use public and or shared transportation. Uber and Lyft business have suffered significantly. Even temporarily, people started gravitating towards conventional personal transportation concept and instead of being inclined to give up their privately owned vehicles now they have been in a buying trend. Not knowing exactly the long-term effects of the pandemic, our life-styles may have been transformed forever with the Corona virus. It is not clear if we will travel, socialize or even entertain in the same way again. Additionally, most people and businesses have also learned a new alternative called working from home. The impact of this trend on traffic congestion and drive time needless to say has been positive. People are more inclined to get on the road since it has not been as much a torture anymore.
Its time for auto retailing to take advantage of these opportunities, demand is up, inventories are short, transaction prices have gone up, it is the seller’s market now. Most of us also learned a big lesson during the PPP program to live with lesser means when it come to controlling expenses. As a result, most retailers have enjoyed some of their most profitable months since May of this year.
The caution is, what happens when the funny money runs out, we have to hope that our economy will open up and the momentum will continue.
Have great August!