More People Turned to Mobile Apps to Buy a Car Last Year Than Ever Before

Ariel Ariel
Jan. 13

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps - Slowing Down. Check out the full article for more insights.


Buying a car can be a pretty lengthy and not always simple experience. That's the status quo apps like Carvana were set out to change by making car shopping happen right from your phone.

If you ask me, that's a pretty ambitious (read, unrealistic) goal, so when I saw news of Carvana's stock plummeting recently, I wasn't too surprised. Many of its competitors are seeing the same trend.

But downloads tell a different story.

To see if people care about buying cars via app, I rounded up the top contenders which include Carvana, CarMax, CarGurus, and Cars.com. They differ a tiny bit in how they operate, but all have the same goal - put users behind the wheel with minimum interaction.

The group took a small hit in downloads due to covid lockdowns, but rebounded right away, making their way into 8.5M devices in 2021, up from 7.7M in 2020.

In 2022, that number ballooned to 10M. That's right, 25% growth, and (low) double-digit new shoppers in 2022.

A lot of shopping has gone in-app during the pandemic for the sheer convenience (and variety, and prices, but that's less relevant). Can car shopping also make this leap?

Looking simply at stock prices the answer is no, but it's also possible there's a delay in adoption? That could make all those stocks great buys. It could also mean a lot of window shoppers.

Note: I'm not a financial advisor so don't bet your money based on this insight.

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

Tagged: #shopping

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