Electric and hybrid car sales expected to pick up as over half of global consumers will now consider

Thursday 05 December 2019 | Press release

Electric and hybrid car sales expected to pick up as over half of global consumers will now consider buying one at their next purchase

  • As we move closer to an environmental crisis point, our new research reveals a dramatic shift in consumer attitude towards more eco-friendly vehicles across major markets   
  • The UK is heading in the right direction with almost seven in ten consumers considering an electric or hybrid vehicle at their next purchase, and two out of five seeing themselves as likely to buy one
  • The UK however lags far behind markets such as Norway in terms of adoption and China in terms of appetite

There is gathering momentum behind electric and hybrid vehicle appetite with more than 50% of global consumers now willing to consider electric/hybrid vehicles at their next purchase, according to The OC&C Global Automotive Disruption Speedometer report.  

The UK fares slightly better than average, with 69% of consumers considering buying an electric/hybrid vehicle next time, a huge increase from the proportion of consumers who said they considered buying an electric/hybrid vehicle at the last replacement (33%). On top of that, nearly one in five (19%) said they would be likely to buy one. This is further reflected in the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders which show that demand for the latest battery electric cars surged by 228.8%, with 4,652 registered in November, while the market for hybrids also rose by 15%.

Across the five markets that the report covers, China is leading the way in consumer appetite. 94% of consumers expect to consider buying an electric/hybrid vehicle and 74% are likely to buy one at their next purchase.

It will take time however for these good intentions to translate into adoption. Only 7% of Chinese and 2% of UK consumers actually bought an electric/hybrid vehicle at the last replacement.

The country that is leading electric or hybrid vehicle adoption is Norway, where 39% of new cars are electrified, thanks to sustained government support and generous incentives.

If the UK is to convert consumer good intentions into action, the government and the industry need to work together to address consumer concerns. OC&C research unveiled that almost two thirds (64%) of consumers said access to vehicle charging points when away from home was the biggest barrier to buying an electric or hybrid car. Almost half (49%) were also concerned about the high cost to purchase an electric or hybrid vehicle, yet, prices are falling in the UK and this is likely to drive forward electric/hybrid adoption rates.

John Evison, Associate Partner, says: “UK consumers remain very attached to having their own cars but are increasingly willing to consider doing their bit to improve our environment by making the permanent move to electric and hybrid vehicles. However, our research shows that turning these good intentions into government support is key to driving consumer adoption of the electric and hybrid vehicles.

“Evidence in Norway shows that sustained government focus and generous incentives can drive significant adoption where nearly one in four new cars are electric ones. However, the governments across the world are taking the right steps as the introduction of clean air zones in cities is a major step forward for many markets and is a significant incentive for consumers to move to electric or hybrid vehicles. The UK government needs to continue to take further decisive action to convert consumer consideration into action.”

These trends and initiatives are encouraging for the sector and a sign that consumers and governments are taking responsibility for their environmental impact more seriously than ever and putting plans into action. 

VIEW THE FULL REPORT