Generation Z’s interest in cars doubles due to Covid

Auto Trader has seen a significant increase in 18-24 year olds searching for new and used cars since the Covid pandemic began.

Young motorist sitting in the driving seat

Younger drivers are showing newfound enthusiasm for motoring and learning to drive since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK.

Traditionally the generation least interested in cars, there has been a sharp increase in 18-24 year olds looking at new and used cars during 2020.

Auto Trader says ‘Gen Z’ 18-24 year olds made up just six percent of its audience during the summer months in 2019.

However, in 2020, this more than doubled, with 18-24 year olds now comprising 15 percent of Auto Trader users looking at new and used cars.

This equates to 5.7 million potential Gen Z motorists.

What’s more, a further 27 percent of the marketplace’s audience is aged 25-34 years old.  

“The pandemic has shifted young people’s views of car ownership,” said Auto Trader’s Rory Reid, “as they look to rely less on public transport and try to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus.

“This is great for the car industry as it opens up a new pool of buyers.”

The changing profile has also seen demand for particular types of car on Auto Trader shift – with prices of hatchbacks going up 11.5 percent in the past week as a result.

The UK’s largest driving school, RED, is also reporting “unprecedented numbers of new customers wishing to learn to drive”.

CEO Ian McIntosh said the firm’s 1,400 driving instructors are “working flat out to meet this new demand… from a new wave of learners who are keen to get behind the wheel in order to minimise their time spent on public transport”.

RED says new learner driver activity is more than 100 percent higher than this time last year, with almost 44,000 enquiries from new drivers in the last month alone.

The average age for those passing their driving test in the UK is 23.7 years old, according to DfT and DVSA data.


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Richard Aucock
Richard is director at Motoring Research. He has been with us since 2001, and has been a motoring journalist even longer. He won the IMCO Motoring Writer of the Future Award in 1996 and the acclaimed Sir William Lyons Award in 1998. Both awards are run by the Guild of Motoring Writers and Richard is currently chairman of the world's largest organisation for automotive media professionals. Richard is also a juror for World Car Awards and the UK juror for the AUTOBEST awards.


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