No, not Cars & Coffee…this year is different. It’s been a strange year for everyone – unprecedented, to really wear that word thin. In the midst of the global pandemic we have all had our routines upended and our lives twisted in more ways than one. Certain industries, particularly those that rely on direct person-to-person, face-to-face contact, have fallen from grace into a hard, bitter recession, while others have been more fit to roll with the punches. Many folks have had no choice but to watch from the sidelines as their livelihoods crumble; others, those in a more financially secure position, have found themselves tied up at home with more time on their hands than ever before, no longer obligated to spend their days cooped up in a workplace setting. The happenings of 2020 have pushed the public to take a step back and reflect upon the big picture—to reevaluate and realign with their goals, lifestyle choices, and belief systems. For some people, so we’ve observed over the last handful of months, this time at home has put a newfound emphasis on individual hobbies, and car-tinkering is exactly that. With time freed up and eBay being just a quick click away, we’ve seen an uptick in interest in the affordable classics, cars that often have a laundry list of to-dos, while the higher-dollar inventory sits and collects dust. This is a total contrast to last year, when sales were hot across the board and seemingly driven purely by the quality of inventory. So for us, a by-no-means-essential business that relies on the disposable income of our audience, this rapid change in demand is curious. It definitely does have to do with the financially-secure folks at home occupying their time with a productive and rewarding hobby, but this also points to a fundamental change in consumer behavior, brought on by the global pandemic and the widespread reassessment of core values that has resulted from it. For once, purchasing patterns do not just parallel disposable income levels; people are reflecting, and with the realization that this life is finite, prioritizing their quality of life and bringing themselves closer to the things that bring them joy. What remains to be seen is how long this treat-yourself, cross-it-off-the-bucket-list approach will last, but the gut feeling is that the long term market impact will be a positive one. For us, a relatively malleable, online-centric business, we will continue to adapt and overcome in the face of an ever-changing environment.
Written by: Jake DePierro