Gubagoo the leading provider of digital retailing, conversational commerce, chat, and messaging solutions for automotive dealerships – has released an analysis of nearly 20 million chat conversations, comparing 2019 and 2020.
The analysis by Gubagoo’s data science team surfaced new phrases never seen before – most related to the COVID-19 pandemic – and identified year-over-year trends.
New Phrases in 2020:
Unsurprisingly given the pandemic, “COVID-19,” “coronavirus,” “pandemic,” terms about wearing masks, and “stay at home order” were all phrases that surfaced with strong frequency, that were completely new in 2020.
Alongside these pandemic-related terms was a new set of closing farewells: “Stay safe,” “Stay healthy,” and “stay well” were all-new ways for consumers and dealers alike to conclude their conversations, while phrases like “have a wonderful day,” or “have a wonderful night” were almost completely eliminated from the general lexicon.
Trending Phrases in 2020:
Gubagoo noted a number of phrases that trended upward significantly in 2020 vs. 2019.
At-home test drives and deliveries: Inquiries about test drives at home increased 11.6x over 2019, and at-home delivery increased 12.5x, as consumers increasingly sought alternative ways to interact with the dealership. While at-home services peaked during the first wave of the pandemic, interest in this service continued to be strong through the remainder of the year and is expected to remain strong through 2021.
Online Purchase: Inquiries about purchasing a vehicle online increased substantially in 2020, by 136%. Interest in buying online increased through the year, even as dealerships re-opened. Consumers trended towards eCommerce across all industries in 2020, and this certainly has translated in automotive, as dealerships have increasingly adopted tools such as Gubagoo’s Virtual Retailing.
Used Vehicle Inquiries: Customer inquiries about used vehicles spiked 14x on the platform year-over-year, driven by new car inventory issues and economic factors.
Open for business, and hours: With a rapidly changing environment, inquiries about hours of operation and whether the dealership was open or closed increased 12x.
Showroom Appointments: Dealerships have always wanted customers to make appointments, as they can be better prepared for the visit and deliver a more efficient experience. In 2020, customers substantially increased their own requests for appointments, by 11x.
Financing Terms: As manufacturers paraded out zero-percent financing offers, inquiries about these exceptional offers spiked “0% financing” as a phrase by a whopping 28x. Often paired with 84-month terms, the lengthy financing period also spiked 13x. “Deferred payments” and “x-months with no payment” both increased tenfold. Puzzlingly, requests for “help with financing” decreased by a notable 77%.
Declining Phrases in 2020:
Gift Cards: Dealerships were offering fewer promotional incentives for test drives, appointments, etc., as mentions of gift cards dropped by 78%.
Recalls: There was a 42% decrease in conversational mentions of recalls in 2020.
Black Friday: There was a notable decrease in mentions of Black Friday in conversations, suggesting that there was less focus on Black Friday in the sector. Mentions dropped by 77% year-over-year.
Happy Thanksgiving: It’s a little sad – but it is notable that consumers and dealerships wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving 94% less often in 2020, opting instead for the stay safe and stay healthy messages instead.
While the pandemic had a clear impact on the phrases used throughout conversations on Gubagoo’s chat and messaging services, there are clearly notable trends that can be expected to continue as 2021 unfolds. Automotive dealerships can expect to see at-home services and online purchasing continue to grow as customer demand for these services increases.