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Stay a While: AIA Canada covers consumer trends amid COVID-19

Ottawa, Ontario ⁠— The Automotive Industries Assocation of Canada (AIA Canada) says consumers behaviours have shifted amid COVID-19, and some customers want to see certain aspects stick around, even in the post-pandemic era.

AIA Canada presented the data in an Oct. 28 webinar, where AIA President J.F. Champagne, Quorus Consulting Group President Rick Nadeau and James Channer, co-founder of Motion Brands discussed consumer behaviours in the aftermarket since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to AIA Canada’s findings⁠, gathered from a June 2021 survey conducted by the organization, 21 percent of drivers found it was more difficult to stay up-to-date on vehicle maintenance and repair during the pandemic; 13 percent found it easier and 66 percent found no impact. 

The top-cited challenges faced by the former group were booking issues with their chosen repair centre (24 percent); COVID lockdown and associated health risks (21 percent); closed or reduced hours at the chosen repair centre (14 percent); financial reasons (13 percent); too busy (eight percent); driving significantly less (seven percent) and access/distance to the repair centre (five percent). 

Those who found maintenance and repair easier amid the pandemic cited reasons like having more free time for maintenance and repairs (29 percent); driving less, meaning a decreased need for maintenance (16 percent) and faster service due to fewer customers in the repair centre (six percent).

The trio also discussed what sorts of behaviours consumers plan to grip to in the post-pandemic era. 

According to the findings, 69 percent of consumers would like to see sanitization stations become a permanent fixture of the front office, while 68 percent want their vehicle sanitized before pick-up. Sixty-seven percent also seek online bookings to remain an option.

On the other hand, some customers will be more than happy to bid adieu to certain COVID-19 protocols, like reduced seating areas (64 percent) and plexiglass barriers (34 percent).

“The pandemic has seriously altered expectations,” said Nadeau. “Think curbside pickup; I order the item, drive there and it’s in my car in less than ten minutes. The expectations have been changed, and it will impact maintenance and repair.

“We need to make it as easy as possible for our customers.”

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