Demand for used cars was almost three times greater in the post-Christmas lockdown, when compared with the first national lockdown in April, according to data from AA Cars.

Since the initial easing of lockdown restrictions last summer, used car demand began to gain momentum. Despite the persistent presence of lockdown restrictions, figures last month surpassed those in January 2020, which was pre-pandemic, by 20%.

According to AA, this demand may be attributed to weather, as individuals are less likely to travel by foot or bike during the winter months.

However, the firm acknowledge that the rapid processes of digitalisation across the industry are also likely to have had a significant impact.

James Fairclough, chief executive of AA Cars, explained: “The winding down of the first nationwide lockdown last summer prompted a spike in interest in used cars, but demand has not tailed off, even as new restrictions came into force at the start of January.

“Forecourts may be closed, but dealers are still finding ways to get cars to buyers, either by offering a click and collect service or even home delivery.”

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The widespread introduction of Click & Collect and home delivery services offered by dealerships have made it increasingly easy for consumers to purchase a new car without ever visiting the showroom.

The demand is expected to continue an upward trajectory once forecourts are reopened, which will help to secure purchases with consumers who might be reluctant to purchase with the absence of any touch points along the way.

Fairclough continued: “This sustained increase in searches is very encouraging for the industry, and we expect to see this grow further after lockdown, when people can visit forecourts again.

“Throughout the pandemic, some people swapped from commuting to work by train or bus to using a car instead. It will be interesting to see whether those habits continue this year now that people have become more reliant on their car.”