Majority South Africans doing less mileage now compared to pre-lockdown – Gumtree research

According to research conducted by Gumtree that surveyed over 12,000 vehicle owners across all nine provinces, 74% of South Africans are doing less mileage in COVID-19 Alert Level 1 than they did prior to lockdown, citing working from home as the main reason for this.  

When asked whether they plan to do more, the same or less mileage once lockdown ends, 88% said they plan to do more or the same mileage. Of those who plan to do more mileage, 81% said their reason for doing more mileage is that they plan on taking several road trips, especially while border regulations governing international travel remain stringent. 

“It’s extremely encouraging to see that South Africans are ready to play their part in helping the country’s economy recover by planning on hitting the road to experience the country’s beautiful attractions first-hand.

This trend is likely to result in a positive boost to South Africa’s local tourism attractions, hotels and other forms of holiday accommodation,” says Estelle Nagel, brand marketing manager at Gumtree South Africa. 

South Africans who plan on driving less post lockdown also cite working from home (63% of respondents) as their reason for doing so, followed by 40% who want to save money and 10% who plan on using public transport or ride sharing more often. 

Shopping (83%) and commuting to and from work (72%) are the most frequent reasons for driving, followed by holiday travel (53%), recreational or leisure driving (48%), and lifting children (26%). 

Twenty-three percent of South Africans are currently driving fewer than 1000kms a month, 14% are driving between 1001kms and 2000kms, while 19% are driving 2000kms or more. The balance (43%) do not know their monthly mileage.  

“Since lockdown, South Africans are driving far less than before, however the majority expect that they will get back to similar pre-lockdown levels in the future. Until then, they will also spend less on petrol, tyres, vehicle servicing and even car washes. Interestingly, those looking to buy a new vehicle have pushed out their timelines as a result,” she says. 


The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), reported that new passenger vehicle sales declined by 34.6% from August 2019 to August 2020, with export sales over the same period falling by 46.9%. 

When asked how long it would be before they intended buying their next vehicle, 63% of respondents were unsure. Twelve percent said that they planned to in the next 12 months, nine percent said in the coming 12 – 23 months, with the balance considering a purchase over the next two to six years. 

Interestingly, the top five vehicle choices respondents would consider purchasing include Toyota (30%), Mercedes Benz (26%), Volkswagen and BMW (both at 24%) and Audi (18%), proving that the German marques are high up on the desirability rankings. 

“While many sectors have struggled significantly since lockdown was imposed in March 2020, we hope to see a pickup in economic activity as conditions relax and the pandemic subsides,” she says “From Gumtree’s perspective, we have noticed a significant increase in online purchasing activity on our online classifieds site as South Africans’ comfort with online shopping increased significantly over the past few months.”  

Gumtree currently has more than 230,000 new and used vehicles listed for sale on the site.

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