Despite the new challenges posed by the pandemic and the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the automotive sector in the UAE, the year 2020 has certainly ended on a positive note with consumer interest and market activity returning to normal levels in the latter half of the year. Based on our analysis of data gathered from extensive user surveys and consumer preferences on dubizzle, we have compiled a comprehensive report that provides quantitative and qualitative insights on the UAE’s used cars market in 2020.
Our consumer survey, which received over 7,000 responses, has revealed that most of the users are interested in purchasing used cars. Over 60% of users have also shown interest in purchasing a used car within the next 6 months. Affordability, value for money and depreciation rate have been the top three factors influencing their interest in used cars.
Apart from these important elements, the vehicle’s resale value has also been a key component in the decision-making process, along with the car’s design, driving performance, fuel economy and brand familiarity.
These findings from our consumer survey have also been in line with the conclusions from our dealer survey where 85% of car dealers responded that most of the customers visiting them in 2020 were looking for used cars. This trend is expected to continue in the future, with around 70% of the total respondents showing confidence that the used cars market will stay strong in the next 6 months.
Used Car Market Trends in 2020
The performance of the used car market in 2020 has largely mirrored the trends observed across other leading industries and verticals in the country. While there has been a predictable period of limited activity in March 2020 when social distancing measures were first introduced, the government’s proactive measures and timely initiatives have played an important role in helping the market stabilise and return to normal economic activity by the end of July 2020. Once businesses understood how to work with the new norm of social distancing, they could quickly pivot to these conditions and cater to the evolving needs of their customer base. In fact, for the month of August alone, a record-breaking 6.21 million visitors have been recorded on dubizzle, which is indicative of interest returning to the market once buyers and sellers could adapt to the new circumstances.
Most Popular Car Makes
While there has been a growing inventory of well over 78 car brands for users on dubizzle in 2020, there are some clear favourites when it comes to customer preferences for user car brands. The top ten most viewed car makes on dubizzle in 2020 have included the following brands:
- Land Rover
Top Car Models 2020
- Popular models from leading car manufacturers such as Nissan, Toyota and Mercedes Benz have dominated our list of top car models in 2020
- The ever-popular SUVs, including Nissan Patrol and Toyota Land Cruiser, have predictably remained popular choices in the last year
- In contrast, the luxurious Mercedes S Class has captured the highest amount of interest from those interested in upscale sedans
- Cost-effective models like Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima have also made it to the list of top ten car models in the last year, which have also incidentally been in the list of most advertised car models on dubizzle last year
Most Preferred Cars by Body Type
SUVs and sedans have been the two most popular body types, followed by coupes.
It’s not surprising that SUVs have taken the lead as they offer the added perks of being a family car with a spacious cabin and off-road capabilities. A similar percentage of users have also shown an interest in sedans. Taking the lead in this category has been the high-end Mercedes Benz S-Class, known for its superior style, comfort, innovation and overall luxurious appeal. While there has been a growing interest in spacious, luxurious cars, price-conscious buyers have also remained interested in affordable, easy-to-maintain models like the Toyota Camry, which is well-known for its fuel-efficiency and resale value.
Our data for 2020 has also indicated that there is a healthy balance in terms of the supply and demand for used cars. Similar to the preferences shown by prospective buyers on dubizzle, SUVs have also claimed the first spot in terms of listing volume, followed closely by sedans. Dealers also seem to have optimised their inventory according to the in-demand car types and models.
User Preference by Price Range
- A majority 44% of dubizzle users have shown interest in cars within a price range of under AED 50,000. This has also been evident from the fact that affordable cars like Toyota Camry and Nissan Altima have featured in the list of most-viewed models on dubizzle
- 24% of users have also displayed an interest in spending between AED 50,000 to AED 100,000, for more upscale models including Mercedes-Benz C and E Class as well as Ford Mustang
- 10% of users have shown interest towards more expensive vehicles priced between AED 100,000 to AED 150,000. Those interested in this category have been more inclined towards popular SUVs and sedans such as Nissan Patrol, Toyota Land Cruiser and Mercedes Benz S Class
- 7% of the users have also shown a preference for vehicles which are between AED 150,000 to AED 200,000. These include luxury SUVs such as the Land Rover Range Rover
- Finally, 14% of the users have searched for models well over AED 200,000, which include the likes of the highly popular Mercedes Benz G Class
Fun Fact: In the higher-end category, some luxury vehicles listed on dubizzle have stood out due to their massive appeal. Notable mentions include the 1962 Ferrari listed for AED 19 million, the 2021 W Motors Fenyr Hypersport 2021 for AED 18.5 million and the 2019 Bugatti Chiron 2019 with a price tag of AED 17.8 million.
Most Preferred Cars by Specs, Colours and Cylinders
GCC spec vehicles have remained the most popular option compared to North American, European or other regional specs in 2020.
Our analysis of preferences on dubizzle’s used cars market has also revealed that white, black, silver, grey and blue are among the most popular colours. Other than being a very popular choice with residents, the colour white understandably has a higher demand in the GCC due to its reflective properties that keep it relatively cooler in summer. Similarly, the same five colours have remained the most prominent options in terms of the supply of listings on dubizzle in 2020.
When it comes to the users’ preference of cars by cylinders, 4-cylinder engines have been more popular as they tend to offer better fuel economy at an affordable price range. Users have also shown a similar interest in 6-cylinder engines, which strike a balance between power and fuel efficiency.
Impact of Timely Initiatives During The Pandemic
The launch of multiple Government initiatives and relief packages have certainly helped the automotive sector, which went through its share of uncertainties in the initial months of the pandemic. From the 22nd of March 2020, vehicle owners were allowed to renew their car registration online without the need to visit the customer centres for a period of three months. Mandatory procedures like vehicle testing and payment of pending fines were also suspended to make the process easier during that period.
Similarly, for three months from 29th of March 2020, all pending fines were deferred and driving licenses were allowed to be renewed for a year without any need for an eye test.
As mentioned earlier, the National Disinfection Programme has played a vital role in bringing life back to normal. COVID-19 testing, temporary suspension of travel, restriction of public movement and government surplus packages have helped the UAE to quickly bounce from the initial slowdown.
As the UAE’s leading online marketplace for used cars, dubizzle also played its part in supporting the sector. The ad fee was significantly reduced and the duration of ads was extended to help private sellers weather the lockdown period. For showrooms, dubizzle waived the entire fee for April 2020, and 50% of the fee for May 2020. The initiatives have proved fruitful as post-lockdown market activities almost caught up to the pre-lockdown level by year’s end.
Based on the data gathered from our listings, over 110,000 unique sellers chose to list their cars on dubizzle in 2020, and more than 225,000 new listings were added for used cars. The average response time for cars listed on dubizzle was recorded as approximately 2 hours, which helped inspire sellers’ confidence in the platform. Moreover, SellerAssist, a service offered by dubizzle Cars, has also enhanced the overall experience for sellers by offering consultation, inspection, valuation, advertisement, appointment scheduling, negotiating and finalising the deal.
This concludes our annual sales report on the UAE’s used car market for 2020.
- Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Nissan came out as the top in-demand car makes for 2020.
- SUVs and sedans remained the popular body types while a majority of users were more likely to consider used cars under AED 50,000.
- Car dealers can be optimistic about the market activity in 2021 with more than 60% of respondents from our user survey showing interest in purchasing a car within 6 months.
Disclaimer: dubizzle’s annual used car market report is based on data collected by dubizzle from listings advertised by car sellers and is not representative of actual car transactions in the UAE.