What Will They Buy?

Vehicle shoppers who were considering a vehicle (new or used) before the pandemic are rethinking the type of vehicle they plan to purchase. At least a third of vehicle shoppers are now more likely to purchase a less expensive vehicle (35%) and close to two in five are more likely be shopping for a fuel-efficient vehicle (39%). About half of them say they have not changed the amount they plan to spend on a vehicle (52%) or the level of fuel efficiency (48%) they seek. Helping customers feel comfortable with the amount they’re spending on a vehicle at purchase and over the vehicle ownership lifecycle will be crucial for manufacturers.

Two in five vehicle shoppers are now more likely to be considering a new vehicle (39%) than they were before the pandemic. This is good news for manufacturers who have seen sales decline sharply as a result of the pandemic. Sales are most likely to be led by Millennials (50%) and Gen X (45%) who are showing the most interest in new vehicles. Conversely, Gen Z shoppers (51%) are more likely to consider used vehicles while the majority of Baby Boomers (56%) have not changed the type of vehicle they’re considering.

When it comes to vehicle size, one-half of vehicle shoppers haven’t altered their consideration (52%). This is especially true for older shoppers. Young shoppers, however, are reconsidering their vehicle size. Gen Z shoppers are now more likely to consider a smaller vehicle (47%) compared to Millennials who are more likely to consider a larger vehicle (38%).

Powertrain consideration is unwavering for 47% of vehicle shoppers still in-market. A slightly higher percentage of shoppers are now more likely to consider a gas/diesel engine (30%) as they are to now consider a hybrid electric vehicle (24%). Gen X shoppers show more interest in hybrid electric vehicles (33%). Conversely, Baby Boomers show the least new consideration for hybrid electrics vehicles (10%). The majority of Baby Boomers have not shifted their powertrain consideration (61%). The big implication for automakers is that demand continues to exist for alternative powertrains, particularly among younger shoppers, but this must be measured against small demand among Baby Boomers.