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EVs are now the next vehicle choice for over one-fifth of car buyers, reports eBay Motors Group

One in five car buyers expect their next purchase to be an electric car, almost doubling the number recorded before the pandemic, according to research by eBay Motors Group.

The percentage of car buyers saying their next car will be an EV increased from 12% in March 2020 to over one-fifth (21%) in November 2021, outpacing the rate of growth for hybrid, which remains the most popular alternative fuel choice for 28% of buyers, compared to 22% in March 2020.

The accelerated increase in consumers keen to purchase an EV has been achieved at the expense of petrol, which fell 14 percentage points from around half of all buyers (49%) to just over a third (34%). Significantly, preference for diesel was 16%, down just 1% since March 2020, suggesting that benefits of diesel, such as range for motorway driving, are still not fully satisfied by EVs and hybrids.

As part of eBay Motors Group's ongoing Consumer Insight Panel research, Insight Advantage polled the online views of 2,000 in-market car buyers in November. To track changing views respondents were asked a series of questions last posed in March 2020, just before the pandemic prompted the UK's first lockdown.

Over half (51%) of male buyers expect their next car to be an EV or hybrid, closely followed by 47% of women.

Furthermore, around a quarter of men (24%) now plan to totally go EV, a notable jump from just 11% in March 2020, with hybrid growing at a slower rate from 24% to 27%. However, the inverse is true for female buyers, where appetite for hybrid vehicles has increased from 21% to 29%, growing at a faster rate than EVs, up from 13% to 18%.

Overall, the increase in appetite for EVs is driven by older buyers aged 35-64. Income is also identified as an important factor influencing the transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, with higher income households naturally more able and prepared to make the higher investment required.

"Consumers are giving more serious consideration to EVs and hybrids than ever before and our research identifies how it is largely at the expense of petrol," said Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group.

"We believe this year's fuel shortages, rising pump prices and even COP26 are influencing choices right now, in particular for those who previously would have defaulted to petrol cars. Conversely, the demand for diesel vehicles has been stable over the last 20 months, indicating a remaining consumer segment whose lifestyle dictates the need for fuel efficient vehicles capable of long-range journeys.

"Dealers planning their stock mix can now factor in that male and female buyers are fairly evenly committed to making the switch from ICE, with both currently favouring hybrids. However, it's also worth considering the biggest growth by gender shows around a quarter of men now saying their next car will be an EV and we expect this figure to increase," said Kelleher.

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