Explore our blog for insightful articles, research revelations, and creative ideas that inspire.

The rise of the automotive subscription economy


09-January 2020 – Research has found that there is a real appetite for car sharing as an alternative to car ownership.

Amongst perceptions of low emission vehicles, autonomous vehicles and purchase processes, a key finding was car buyer’s attitudes towards car sharing over traditional car ownership (where car sharing is on demand hire of a car via a subscription service).

  • 15% of Brits are considering car sharing as an alternative to car ownership.
  • 37% of those living in a City Centre or Town Centre (30%) have considered car sharing
  • 30-39 age group are most likely to have considered car sharing as an alternative (36%)

The independent online study with a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 car buyers was carried out by research and data analytics agency Future Thinking, to determine attitudes towards purchase processes and latest industry trends.

With 15% of respondents having considered car sharing as an alternative to car ownership, it can be argued that whilst car ownership was once viewed as the ultimate mark of freedom and independence, car sharing is becoming increasingly popular with its promise of personal convenience and social improvement.

Not surprisingly, the survey found that those who live or work in a city and/or town centre are significantly more likely to consider car sharing than those who live or work in the outskirts, villages or rural areas. While 37% of those living in a city Centre or Town Centre (30%) have considered car sharing, only 4% of those living in rural areas have considered it as an alternative to car ownership. Clearly, location is a key factor in the attractiveness of car sharing models and unsurprisingly, London based motorists are significantly more likely than motorists in any other part of the UK to consider this new accessible model of car use.

When asked what the main benefit car sharing has over traditional ownership, the key factors that came out on top included:

  • It’s more cost-friendly – 37%
  • Better for the environment – 13%
  • It will reduce congestion – 7%

While cost typically comes out on top, environmental concerns were an important consideration.

When asked about the main concerns with car sharing over car ownership, the one that came out on top was availability (22%), with respondents flagging a concern over a vehicle being unavailable when needed. This was followed by inconvenience (7%), different travelling arrangements (5%) and relying on others to use the car (5%).

Amanda Potter, Senior Director at Future Thinking, comments: “Transportation is an industry that is facing disruption; from the accelerated rise of new technologies, sustainability policies, and now changing consumer preferences around ownership.

Despite the continued dominance of private car ownership, changes are taking place within the automotive industry. The development of subscription models to replace the traditional ownership of cars is now coming into view and larger cities such as London will likely be the first to be impacted.

As the purchasing power of millennials grows, future environmentally focused populations striving to drive less, are likely to drive this form of mobility in the coming years.  The new subscription economy will be based on mobility committed to offering personal convenience and social improvement – two things that are high on the list of priorities for younger generations.”

– Ends –

This survey was conducted with a UK panel of 1,002 nationally representative car owners in June/July 2019. Research and infographic provided by Future Thinking. To learn more about this research or our other work in the automotive sector please contact one of the team | +44 (0) 3333 208 220 |

Share this article:TweetShareEmailPrint