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Environmental concerns drive shift to EVs and hybrids for buyers planning next used car purchase, finds eBay Motors Group study

  • 75% of electric and hybrid used car buyers driven by environmental and sustainability considerations for next purchase
  • Only 25% motivated by reduced running costs
  • Dealer expected to play key role in helping consumers understand sustainability through detailed vehicle knowledge

Environmental and sustainability considerations are having a greater influence on buyers choosing an electric or hybrid car than potential running costs savings, according to research by eBay Motors Group.

The latest Consumer Insight Panel survey of 2,000 in-market used car buyers found nearly half (49%) expect their next vehicle to be electric or hybrid. Of these, three-quarters cited environmental factors for their choice, while the balance wanted to reduce their running costs. The move to hybrid and electric is primarily driven from petrol users, showing that diesel retains a role for those concerned about range.

The reduction of carbon footprint emerged as the most compelling reason for 46% of buyers and the dominant reason regardless of gender or age.

Reduced emissions accounted for 29% of buyers and is evenly split by gender, peaking at 37% of buyers aged 18-24 years old.

Cost savings accounted for 26% of consumers, appealing more to male buyers (27%) than female buyers (23%). It is also favoured by drivers aged over 25, rising to 31% for those aged 55-64.

Only 10% of buyers admitted to having no interest in the dealer's green credentials.

Nearly one in two buyers (46%) said they were more likely to buy from or recommend a dealer taking active steps to improve their sustainability. This messaging was particularly strong among buyers aged 18-34.

"With 90% of buyers saying car retailers need to take steps to improve their sustainability, dealers must ensure their sales staff are aware of the environmental credentials of the cars they are selling and be able to convey them to buyers, especially those taking their first tentative steps away from ICE-powered cars," said Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group.

"The research also identifies the need for dealers to adopt a greater consultative role, with 21% of buyers saying dealers are positioned to help them understand what impact purchasing an EV has compared to other changes they could make to their lifestyle.

"The ability of dealers to demonstrate they are taking proactive measures to address environmental and sustainability issues and communicate their actions online and in the showroom will resonate with buyers," he said.

Click here to download the full report