Houston car shoppers bounce back; Florida cities see interest remain low

The start of cleanup at a Houston suburb home on Sept. 2. Photo credit: michelmond / Shutterstock.com

While car shopper interest in Houston has just about fully recovered from a 21-percent decline in the three weeks after Hurricane Harvey first made landfall, shopping recovery has been slower in Florida’s cities following Hurricane Irma, according to new data from Jumpstart Automotive Media.

The company examined shopper interest trends three weeks after Hurricane Harvey and Irma and compared them to the three weeks before the storms.

In Florida, the largest decline is in Fort Myers and Naples. Car shopping in the cities has decreased by 43 percent three weeks after Irma hit.

In Tampa Bay, shopping is down 28 percent compared to the three weeks before the storm and down 25 percent in Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville.

Despite the overall decline in shopper interest in the wake of Irma, trucks have seen a rise in shopper interest led by midsize pickup trucks with a 21 percent gain in shopper interest, followed by heavy duty and one-ton pickup trucks with a 14 percent increase and full-size pickups with a 3-percent rise in interest compared to the three weeks before the storm.

In Houston, pickup trucks also represent a large share of shopper interest post-Hurricane Harvey, according to Jumpstart.

“Growth in interest for midsize pickup trucks in Houston and Miami (post hurricane) makes sense since these trucks are more compatible with an urban lifestyle, as well as offering the necessary comfort, space, versatility and features today’s shopper looks for,” Jumpstart senior analyst of strategic insights Colin Thomas said in a news release.

Three weeks post the storm, midsize pickup trucks, one-ton pickup trucks and full-size pickup trucks are up 26 percent, 11 percent and seven percent, respectively compared to three weeks before the storm.

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