Navigating Change: Shifting Trends in Consumer Vehicle Purchasing

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• Negative times ahead, with 71% expecting Australian economic conditions to worsen over the next 12 months
• Despite this, 22% still intend to purchase a vehicle in the year ahead
• Almost one in two (49%) would consider a zero or low emission vehicle (rising to 66% of Boomers)
• Despite expressing progressive mindsets, affordability issues mean Gen Z (35%) are the least likely to consider low emission vehicles

Against the backdrop of ongoing economic uncertainty, almost one in four (22%) Australians intend to purchase a vehicle in the upcoming year. This intention unravels along generational lines, with Gen Z (27%) and Gen Y (27%) leading the charge, followed closely by Gen X (24%), and a slightly lesser 14% among Boomers.

This divide is underpinned by consumer sentiment. Despite a staggering 71% foreseeing a challenging economic terrain ahead for Australia over the next 12 months, 45% of our resilient Gen Zs project optimism, anticipating that economic conditions will either stabilize or improve. This sits in stark contrast to the 27% of their Boomer counterparts who share this outlook off the back of concerns about the burden of rising energy bills (77%), the constant pressure of affordability for essential products (63%), and the accessibility of affordable healthcare (52%)

In line with recent automotive trends, SUVs command the spotlight, with 62% of consumers drawn towards this category for their next vehicle, overshadowing the 50% considering passenger vehicles. This trend notably gains momentum among Boomers (71%), underscoring the timeless appeal of these vehicles across generations. Brand loyalty also takes centre stage with Toyota (75%), Mazda (58%), and Hyundai (54%) emerging as the most favoured options for prospective purchasers. In a captivating twist though, Gen Z also displays a propensity for Volkswagen (49%), illustrating their willingness to explore newer avenues while still considering the established players.

Reflecting the continuing transition towards a sustainable future, almost half (49%) of potential vehicle purchasers are open to the idea of low or zero emission vehicles, with 42% considering hybrids and 22% contemplating electric vehicles. Intriguingly, Gen Z (34%) appear less likely to purchase a low emission vehicle within the next 12 months, with affordability a key factor in this decision.

Fifth Quadrant Director, Ben Selwyn said: “In summary, this study unpacks shifting consumer sentiments and priorities, revealing distinct generational economic outlooks that are reshaping market dynamics. Purchasing intentions hold up despite a range of concerns, with Gen Z’s more optimistic outlook shining through despite the concerns they hold (e.g. rising energy bills and mental health) and contrasting with Boomers’ focus on rising cost of living pressure. These generational trends extend to vehicular preferences, with a notable emphasis on sustainability, led by Boomers who have the financial capability to invest in lower emission vehicles.”

About the Consumer Tracker
• Based on responses from a minimum of n=1,000 consumers per month completing a 5-minute online survey
• Respondents are consumers 18+
• Data is weighted by state gender to reflect the national distribution of the population across the country
• This report is based on the January – June waves of research.

About Fifth Quadrant
Too often, we see businesses confusing data with insights, but data alone is not enough. We provide organisations with insight about their markets and customers by layering context and expertise on top of data. This allows our clients to make better decisions and unlock tomorrow’s opportunities today.

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