New Kelley Blue Book Report Indicates That Vehicle Buyers Are Exiting the Market

2021 Chevrolet Malibu
Car shoppers are considering switching intended brands, vehicle categories, purchasing used vehicles or postponing purchase altogether in the midst of the chip shortage, according to Kelley Blue Book’s latest report. General Motors

The global chip shortage is now causing nearly half of car shoppers to exit the market or postpone a new vehicle purchase for the next several months according to new consumer research from Kelley Blue Book. The August 2021 survey looked into car shoppers' current perspectives and intentions given the state of an automotive marketplace plagued by inventory shortages and record-high vehicle prices.

Results of the survey indicate that 90 percent of shoppers are aware of the new-vehicle inventory shortage problems at dealerships. More than half of shoppers are aware of the cause of the shortage, and 71 percent are familiar with the effects of the shortage on the automotive market.

"The latest Kelley Blue Book research indicates that most consumers anticipate negative impacts on the automotive market due to the chip shortage, from increased prices to inventory shortages and longer delivery times," said Vanessa Ton, senior industry intelligence manager for Kelley Blue Book.

Shoppers also understand that the issue is mostly universal across the industry: 79 percent said the shortage impacts both domestic and import vehicle brands, 76 percent said all brands will be impacted, and 71 percent said all vehicle categories are impacted.

Of car shoppers currently in the market 48 percent say they are likely to postpone their purchase due to the chip shortage. Within those willing to postpone, 40 percent said they would be willing to wait seven months or longer, about 40 percent said they would wait three-to-six months and 12 percent said less than two months.

Those unwilling to postpone their car buying plans are considering switching intended brands, vehicle categories or purchasing used vehicles instead.

"With a large portion of the in-market population now saying they plan to delay their purchase given the current market conditions, it will be interesting to see how that could impact the ongoing delicate balance of supply, demand and pricing across the industry. Long term, OEMs are likely experimenting with made-to-order deliveries for consumers," Ton said.

Roughly a third of all surveyed said they would be willing to pay above MSRP — up to a 13 percent premium, or roughly $5,600 more based on the latest Kelley Blue Book Average Transaction Prices.

Car shoppers are also willing to travel between 50 and 200 miles outside of their local are to find their desired vehicle. However, less than 20 percent are willing to drive more than 200 miles.

In the limited market, consumers have been more flexible with their purchasing decisions: 35 percent are willing to shift from an imported to a domestic brand, 32 percent are willing to switch brands, 31 percent would shift vehicle categories, 38 percent are willing to shift from purchasing a new vehicle to a used vehicle. Only 18 percent said they would consider shifting from buying used to new.