Respondents indicting a decline in physical footfall increased by 14% in July 2017 compared to the 37% cited in 2016. A quarter experienced an increase in activity and a further 25% reported little or no change to the volumes of customers walking through their showroom doors.
The number of dealers reporting a dip an improvement in online business is more positive that physical footfall with a third (32%) seeing an improvement since June. 44% felt a decline in online activity over the previous month representing less of a dip than for the decrease in physical footfall. The remaining 25%, as with the footfall, experienced similar levels of activity as they did in June.
In 2016, those indicating a compression in retained margin from June into July reached nearly half at 47%, in 2017, although the majority, has eased back to 44% and 39% felt that they had continued in line with June. Slightly below a fifth (18%) reported they had experienced an improvement on the month; this is similar with the results we sighted in 2016, where 19% reported the same. Throughout the H1 of 2017, although pressure has continued, it is less of a ‘roller coaster’’ than we reported in 2016.
In line with the general sentiment currently reported across the network, stockavailability has worsened, with 1 in 3 (33%) indicating this, in this month’s survey, compared to only as little as 14% in 2016. Those citing an increase since June remains in line with 2016, as 34% and the outstanding third felt little change.
Finance penetration remains reasonably stable, with close to a quarter (23%) reporting an increase compared to June, and 26% a decline – a minor shift from the figures we sighted in 2016. However, half (51%) reported the penetration had remained in line with June, yet again a similar picture as in 2016 at 54%.
The respondents indicating an improvement in retail and consumer demand compared to June, has significantly fallen from 41% in 2016, to just over a quarter (28%) in July 2017. Whilst, those reporting a worsening has increased from 34% in July last year, to 43% and the remaining 29% had experienced little change in demand.
Philip Nothard, consumer and retail specialist at cap hpi, said: “In general, margins are under pressure, and it is without doubt a major topic of conversation at the moment. Dealers indicating an improvement in retail and consumer demand compared to June has fallen significantly from 41% in 2016, to just over a quarter (28%) in July 2017. For new sales, dealers undoubtedly found July tougher than June despite the best efforts of manufacturers to stimulate behaviour.”