'Generation rent' still want a car, they just can't afford it

Friday, 21 December 2018


The world of automotive is changing, and fast. The advent of mobility, car sharing, electrification and autonomous are all potential disruptions for the whole value chain to worry about. To investigate this, OC&C have conducted an “Automotive Disruption Tracker” based on primary research to understand how consumer attitudes and behaviour is changing on the ground. 

Our research shows some clear trends in consumer attitudes, but in unexpected directions. Perhaps the most surprising finding has been the continued commitment to car use amongst the young. The traditional picture of the car as the passport to freedom remains as true as ever, even amongst millennials where 43% of 18-29 year olds see the car as a status symbol and 60% see a car as an important part of growing up.

The majority expect to get a car in the future, but the reason for now is mainly that they don't feel they can afford a car. Along with housing, the car is a luxury of independence that "Generation Rent" is having to forego. 

This is reassuring for suppliers into the industry, as there should be a stable car population for now and the 'Spotify' or 'Netflix' of cars will take time to evolve, with some breathing space to innovate. The key for sustainability amongst all providers will be finding ways to make car use affordable and attractive as this generation reach the family life stage (where 84% of young families have their own car).

This is not just generation rent, it is the Easyjet generation. Who will step up to offer similar affordable services in cars?

John Evison, Associate Partner

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