June 8, 2020

Signs of Dealerships’ Digital Health: Website Traffic & Lead Flow During COVID-19 Crisis

Updated 6/8/2020 – As markets begin to return to a new normal, this will be our last week of publishing these stats.


As a trade-in tool provider, TradePending sees daily website traffic and lead flow from over 2,500 franchise dealers across the US. There’s never been a more “interesting” time to sift through this digital data to evaluate online consumer behaviors.

When evaluating this data, we realize that there’s a much broader story here than just digital. The entire automotive industry is undergoing a momentous and painful moment.

With that backdrop, we can report signs of positive digital health when evaluating overall website traffic and inbound leads at dealerships. This aggregated data is the output from our website trade-in tool, Trade.

How to Read These Charts

We treat the week of Monday 3/9/2020 through Sunday 3/15/2020 as the last “normal” week and our baseline. The following week (3/16 – 3/22) saw many businesses sending their employees home, retail businesses closing, and statewide “shelter in place” orders going into effect. We refer to this as Covid Week 1, with each subsequent week running from Monday – Sunday.

Dealership In-Bound Lead Flow Increasing During COVID-19

The surge of trade-in leads is slowing down as markets return to a new normal. but the quantity still exceeded the baseline last “normal” week. Lead flow was up 22.6% for TradePending customers nation-wide last week compared to the baseline.

Total Dealership Website Traffic During COVID-19

We saw a similar pattern with website traffic during week 12. Daily traffic to dealers’ websites was down consistently in weeks 1-4, usually seeing a spike in traffic as the weekend approach. With week 5, that website traffic was up consistently, with the exception of flat growth on Monday. In weeks 6 through 12, we see website traffic consistently beating pre-covid levels each week, but beginning to taper off and return to normal.

As less people are able to visit showrooms, they’re making better use of the online tools available to them.

Key Takeaways for Dealers

Let’s be clear: No amount of digital growth can replace the lost foot traffic and in-store visits, and the subsequent hits to the bottom line.

However, a few key takeaways emerge:

  • It’s never been more important to improve, enhance & optimize your digital presence to extract the most value from it.
  • Focus on the digital solutions that drive the highest ROI for your team, whether that’s a chat solution, a trade-in tool, search engine marketing, or something else.
  • Roll out the red carpet for every in-bound lead.
  • Reinforce positive messaging about any “at home” services that you offer, at every touch point possible. If they can’t come to you, come to them.
  • For your trade-in solutions, make sure their valuation methodology can quickly adapt to market forces, which will see declining prices. We’ll post more about our approach to valuation methodologies soon.

Is your data showing you something different? Email us at sales@tradepending.com. We’d love to hear from you.