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Online car buying is booming, according to this auto dealer

More mobile consumers after getting a COVID-19 vaccine hasn't slowed the online car buying boom that the pandemic helped create.

At least that's a takeaway from the second quarter earnings out of online car-selling leader Carvana (CVNA).

Carvana said Thursday evening that it sold 107,815 retail units in the second quarter, up 96% from a year ago. It marked the company's first time selling over 100,000 units. The company saw a record level of gross profit per unit. Some $45 million in net income was the first-ever quarter for Carvana of positive net income.

"Five years ago, the year before we went public, we sold 18,000 cars in the full year. We just sold over five times that many in a single quarter," Carvana CEO Ernie Garcia remarked to analysts on a conference call.

Garcia added later on in the call, "I do think what characterizes this environment is you have very rapid vehicle price appreciation in both the wholesale market and the retail market. And it's unlike anything that I've at least ever seen in my career. So I think we've seen very dramatic price appreciation."

Here is how Carvana performed compared to Wall Street analyst forecasts for the second quarter:

  • Net Sales: $3.34 billion vs. $2.46 billion

  • Adjusted Diluted EPS: $0.26 vs. loss per share of $0.39

Carvana shares rose 2% in Friday trading. The stock has been one of the best pandemic-related plays, with shares up nearly 100% over the past year. Shares of Carvana rival Vroom (VRM) have plunged 40% amid several operational miscues during the last 12 months.

Analysts generally stayed upbeat on Carvana's stock following the results, but several did point to a heightened valuation at current levels.

"While Carvana is uniquely positioned as the largest online used auto player with a significant first mover advantage and scale, risk/reward is balanced at current valuation," said Raymond James analyst Nicholas Bacchus in a research note to clients.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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