Falling incomes and soaring motoring costs put the brakes on car ownership for younger consumers

London - 25th November 2013 -  Today’s younger consumers are demanding a new model of car ownership, according to new research by TNS, the market leader in auto industry research worldwide.

The report, ‘Are the wheels coming off for Generation Y?’ – the result of a UK research programme of over 2000 consumers; around half each from Generation X and Generation Y – explores changing attitudes to the car ownership model and where future growth for the auto industry might lie.

For Generation Y, today’s younger generation of drivers – defined in this study as consumers aged 18-29 years – improved public transport options and changing consumption behaviour is ending the traditional love affair with car ownership demonstrated by previous generations. With falling incomes and soaring motoring costs, car ownership now accounts for a much bigger proportion of the personal budgets of this financially constrained young generation of consumers. Indeed, 45% of Generation Y respondents agreed with the statement “owning a car means I have to make other sacrifices”.

As a consequence, levels of car ownership amongst Generation Y are significantly lower (68%) than amongst Generation X (81%) – defined here as consumers aged 30-45 years. Even more striking is the gap in share of journeys by car attributed by Generation Y (45%) compared with Generation X (64%), pointing to a threat to the future of car use and, accordingly, ownership.

But, at 68%, car ownership levels are still high amongst Generation Y. And positive aspirational attitudes towards the car remain, with 62% of Generation Y respondents agreeing with the statement “owning a car enhances my lifestyle in an important way”.

So what does this mean for the future of car use and ownership? With the desire to drive still present against a backdrop of changing economic, as well as social and environmental, consumption behaviour, consumers are likely to look at car marques that offer to serve their needs in other ways, creating opportunity for industry leaders able to harness the appetite for alternative models of ownership.

TNS Director – UK Automotive, Richard Davies, said: “Younger consumers are following a new orientation about car use and ownership. Deciphering the characteristics of the new model of ownership is an imperative for marketers and businesses wanting to thrive in the automotive marketplace of the future.”

Creative solutions to meet these changing needs of younger drivers are required. And opportunities exist for companies who are able to lead the way by helping consumers think differently about the traditional ownership model.

The report, ‘Are the wheels coming off for Generation Y’, is available for download at www.tnsglobal.com/uk/auto. 


Notes to editors:
About the TNS UK Automotive Study
TNS undertook research among a sample of 2168, split across Generation X and Generation Y. Fieldwork took place in June 2013. For this study we have defined Generation X and Y as follows:

Generation Y: UK consumers aged 18-29 years
Generation X: UK consumers aged 30-45 years

For further information please contact jamie.willard@tnsglobal.com. For a copy of the full report visit www.tnsglobal.com/uk/auto.

About TNS
TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world. TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. Please visit www.tnsglobal.com/uk for more information.

About Kantar
Kantar is the data investment management division of WPP and one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. By connecting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 28,500 employees work across 100 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies. For further information, please visit us at www.kantar.com