16 juin 21

73% expect to use car more after pandemic – survey

The pandemic is accelerating mobility megatrends away from the ‘one person, one car’ paradigm. That’s the accepted wisdom. However, a survey by CarNext reveals the opposite: 84% now consider the car their main mode of transport, up from 64% before the pandemic. And 73% expect to continue using their car more, even after corona. 

If you’re interested in updating your remarketing strategy, register for the Fleet Europe Remarketing Expert Track on 22 June – one afternoon that will bring you up to speed with the latest trends in trading used vehicles online.

Today LeasePlan-daughter CarNext, a leading online marketplace for used cars in Europe, publishes its first Mobility Insights report – a survey designed to identify and track the trends relevant to today’s used-car market. 

Obviously, the effects of the pandemic feature prominently in the results, but so do other megatrends, including electrification and the related drive towards sustainability.

The surveys were conducted in May 2021 in six key European markets (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Portugal), and included 3,000 drivers. Here are 10 key findings:

1. Car ownership

  • The pandemic has served as a catalyst for car ownership. The number of consumers who consider the car to be their primary mode of transport has increased by a third, from 64% before the pandemic to 84% today. 
  • Overall, 50% are now more in favour of car ownership than before the pandemic, with results higher than average in Italy, Spain (both 57%) and France (55%), and lower in Portugal (48%), the Netherlands (47%) and Germany (46%). The age group most in favour of car ownership are the 24-35-year-olds.
  • No less than 73% of those surveyed claim they expect to continue driving more even after the pandemic is entirely over; most in Spain (84%), least in the Netherlands (51%). 

2. Public transport

  • If car ownership is up, public transport is down. Overall, 69% said they were more likely to drive a car than to use public transport, due to Covid-19.
  • It seems public transport is having an especially hard time in Mediterranean countries, because that figure rises to 78% in Spain, 75% in Italy and 74% in Portugal. 

3. Buying a car online

  • About 60% of those surveyed said they were buying more things online now than before, due to the pandemic.
  • That fact certainly explains why more than a third of drivers now say they would consider buying a car entirely online – something that a few years ago would have seemed a very hard sell indeed. That share is highest in Spain (41%) and Italy (40%), lowest in France (27%).
  • Why online? Convenience, say 57% of those surveyed. Interestingly, that figure rises with age, with 82% of those 66 years and older agreeing with the statement. For younger buyers, buying online is more a ‘force of habit’. 

4. Most have a used car

  • Used cars are popular and widespread. When asked what sort of car they drive, 57% said a used car.
  • That figure was highest in Portugal (71%), followed by the Netherlands (66%) and France (61%). 
  • The lowest shares of used-car ownership were registered in Germany (59%), Spain (43%), and Italy (40%).
  • As for age groups, the youngest (18-23) owned the most used cars (65%), while the oldest (66+) had almost the lowest (48%). 

5. Environmental awareness

  • Even when buying used cars, environmental awareness is an increasingly important factor.
  • No less than 84% of those surveyed say ‘green’ issues are a major consideration when buying a used car. 
  • And 64% said that sustainability has grown in importance during, and due to, the pandemic. 

6. Used-car buyers getting younger

  • Don’t fall for the stereotype that used-car buyers are older than average. The reverse is increasingly true.
  • About 64% of those surveyed had bought – or had considered buying – a used car in the year leading up to the survey. Zooming in on the millennial generation, that share increases to 75%. 

7. Price drives purchases

  • Most (67%) drivers said price was still the main factor when purchasing a car – whether online or at the dealer’s. 
  • Other important factors were age and mileage of the car (64%), vehicle type (61%), and vehicle model (46%). 

8. Confidence in quality is rising

  • 48% of those surveyed said they are now more likely to buy a used car than five years ago.
  • Of these, 74% said this was due to the increased trust in their ability to find a high-quality used car with limited mileage.
  • In fact, 51% of those now looking for a car are looking specifically to buy a used car. 

9. Electric is definitely an option

  • Not too long ago, buying an EV second-hand was considered a tricky proposition. Now, 72% of those surveyed say they’ll gladly consider buying a used EV. 
  • Confidence is highest among Italians (84%) and Spaniards (82%), lowest among the French (62%) and Germans (60%). 

10. Summer 2021: holidays by car

  • Largely due to lingering considerations regarding corona, only 10% of those surveyed say they would consider flying as an option to go on holiday this summer.
  • Of course, this increases the likelihood that this year’s summer holidays will be car holidays – as 50% of those surveyed agree.
  • Undoubtedly, that sense of cars as the ideal mobility mode feeds into the fact that 67% say they would buy a car because it gives them the freedom they need. That figure rises to 71% if we isolate the millennials (24-35-year-olds). 

Image: CarNext

Authored by: Frank Jacobs