There are fewer Portuguese people looking to buy a car – Survey

There are fewer Portuguese people looking to buy a car - Survey

The automotive sector recorded sales drops in Portugal above 32% in 2020

2019 was a successful year for the automotive sector and the expectation for 2020 was enormous, however, the Covid-19 pandemic caused everything to change and this sector became one of the most economically fragile, with breaks in sales, but also in production levels, as there were production lines stagnating, employees infected with the virus, and, for all of this, employment suffered a strong direct impact.

In Portugal, in the year 2020, sales in the automotive sector fell by more than 32% compared to 2019, a value higher than the European average (-28%) and the world average (-17%), whose scenario led that in April 2020 there would be 1.1 million people in this sector with their jobs affected across Europe, 20,000 in Portugal.

Given the context of uncertainty, Observer Cetelem sought through a survey to find out how this situation affected the Portuguese purchase intention, so at the end of 2019, 35% of respondents expressed a desire to buy a car in the next 12 months; however, in 2020, this figure dropped to 23%, again below the European average (which also decreased from 34% to 27%) and the world average (from 41% to 32%).

The pandemic had a direct impact on these purchase intentions, albeit moderately in some cases. Worldwide, just over a third of individuals consider the pandemic to be a major factor in the intention to purchase a vehicle. In Portugal, only 1 in 5 people make this direct association, in contrast to countries like the USA and the United Kingdom, where more than 1 in 2 people report that they were influenced by Covid-19.

Asked whether the health crisis and the respective economic consequences will influence the amount they intend to spend on the purchase of a vehicle, 40% of the Portuguese respondents say yes, because the amount they will have will be lower; on the other hand, 29% say that the available value will be higher. These are in line with the European average (38% will spend less and 25% more), but they contrast with the world average, where the answers are balanced – 35% consider that they will spend less and 35% that they will spend more.


The economic and market analyzes, as well as the projections, were carried out in partnership with the study and consulting company C-Ways, specialized in anticipation marketing.

Quantitative fieldwork was conducted by Harris Interactive from September 2 to 11, 2020 in 15 countries: South Africa, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, China, Spain, United States of America, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland , Portugal, United Kingdom and Turkey.

In total, 10,000 people were interviewed online (CAWI collection method), aged between 18 and 65 years old, representing each country. The sample's representativeness is ensured by the quota method (sex, age). 500 people were interviewed in each country, except in France where 3,000 interviews were conducted.

About Cetelem:

Cetelem is the brand of Banco BNP Paribas Personal Finance, present in Portugal since 1993. European leaders, we are present in more than 30 countries on 4 continents, employing more than 28 thousand people.

In Portugal, we have more than 700 employees, we serve more than 1.3 million customers annually and we are present in more than 2800 partner establishments. Credit cards, personal credit, car and insurance solutions are the main products sold by Cetelem and are available to consumers on the website, by phone and in the commercial establishments of the main partners in Portugal, in addition to being made available in our stores in Porto and Lisbon .


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