Popularity of Pickups Rose During Pandemic, Study Says

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It seems everyone — EVERYONE — loves pickup trucks. A new study shows they’re popularity increased during the pandemic.

Pickup trucks have always been popular — the top three selling vehicles in the U.S. — but during the pandemic, people seemed to want them even more, according to a new study.

According to a new study from car buying website CarGurus.com, more people went looking for pickups than normal despite a dearth of trucks and higher prices. The results show what the adage says: people want what they cannot have.

The new study revealed 42% of 2021 truck buyers said the pandemic made them more interested in buying a vehicle at that time, and 45% said it made them want to buy a truck instead of another type of vehicle.

In mid-to-late 2021 (May-October), 78% of buyers perceived prices to be higher than usual, and 67% said that vehicle selection seemed worse. Yet, demand remained strong.

Battery-electric pickups

Not only was a desire for trucks stronger than normal during the pandemic, the slew of new battery-electric pickups, like the GMC Hummer SUT, Ford F-150 Lightning and the Tesla Cybertruck (which won’t be available until 2023) whetted the appetites of truck fans.

Unsurprisingly, 43% of truck owners expect to buy an electric truck in the next decade, an increase from 34% in last year’s study.

The groups most interested in electric trucks were millennials and compact truck owners, with 50% and 52%, respectively, expecting to purchase one in the next decade.

The demographics least interested in electric trucks were boomers (37%) and consumers living in rural areas (29%). The aforementioned Hummer is being delivered now as is Rivian’s R1T electric pickup. The F-150 Lightning is expected to roll out of its new specialized assembly facility near Detroit this summer.

CarGurus electric truck graphic

A truck for every purpose

The survey also looked at interest in different brands, with consumers selecting their preferred models across different truck size categories. 

For full-size and lifestyle trucks, Ford was most popular with consumers choosing the F-150 and the Maverick models, respectively.

Toyota’s Tacoma won top choice with the mid-size truck category, and Tesla’s Cybertruck was the top choice for tech-forward models.

“As the pandemic continues, consumers are still increasingly interested in the freedom and fun that trucks provide,” said Madison Edwards, director of Consumer Insights at CarGurus. “With this rising demand for both gas-powered and electric trucks colliding with a tight vehicle market, though, consumers are seeing high prices and limited inventory.”

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