2021 ended as expected, with used inventory levels rising – however, prices and days-on-market didn’t see any relief. The CarGurus UK Used Vehicle Availability Index increased by 6.5% compared to November and is now up 7.1% year-over-year – overall, this is effectively as great a recovery as we’ve seen in inventory volumes. However, this increase in inventory is expected, as December is historically the lowest month for used vehicle sales, which is the likely source of the inventory increase. Supporting indicators, too, show more volatility underneath the surface.
One such indicator is pricing, which saw continued increases in December. The used average listing price is quickly approaching £20k with prices up 2.1% from November and 39% year-over-year. Another indicator highlighting the continued movement is days-on-market, which remains down 23.5% compared to last year, highlighting that while inventory levels are rising, the vehicles are moving at a quicker rate underneath the topline level.
The outlook for 2022 will remain dependent on vehicle production; if it can return to a pre-COVID level, we’ll likely see a stronger recovery in sales and a potential reduction in pricing – otherwise, we’re looking at a further continuation of 2021 trends.
To learn more about the trends impacting vehicle inventory, download the CarGurus UK Vehicle Availability Index & Insights December 2021.