Three in five young drivers considering flexible ownership models

Went shopping today. Shot of an attractive African woman shows the keys to the camera.

New research from Churchill Expert reveals nearly two-thirds (59 percent) of young drivers (18–34 year olds) are considering flexible car ownership models.

This represents a stark contrast to the 15 per cent of drivers aged 55 and above and the national average of 33 percent – a significant shift in car ownership preferences across different generations.

Flexible ownership models include traditional and short-term rentals, Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), Personal Contract Hire (PCH), employee salary sacrifice schemes and car subscriptions, compared to traditional methods like outright ownership and Hire Purchase (HP). The research also uncovers a disparity in current car ownership models between age groups.

Only half (53 percent) of young drivers own their cars outright, compared to a significant 82 per cent among those aged 55 and above.

Breakdown of current car ownership models – Churchill Expert, 2023:

Car access modelPercentage of all motoristsPercentage of young motorists
Outright ownership7053
Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)911
Personal Contract Hire (PCH)611
Driving someone else’s car58
Hire Purchase (HP)35
Through work (e.g. company car or salary sacrifice)35
Car subscription14
Short-term rental02
Traditional rental01
Other / have no access to a car10

The findings also shed light on the role of salary sacrifice schemes in driving the transition to flexible ownership. Over half (56 per cent) of young drivers said that salary sacrifice schemes with their employers would make them more likely to switch to flexible ownership models. This stands in contrast to the national average of one-third (31 per cent) and one-in-ten (11 per cent) over 55-year-olds.

Young drivers would also consider subscriptions to alternative vehicle types, in addition to cars. More than half (54 per cent) of 18-34 year-olds expressed their openness to exploring subscription to alternative vehicle options, in contrast to a mere 6 per cent of those aged 55 and above and the national average of 25 per cent.

The breakdown of alternative vehicle preferences among young drivers was: 17 per cent expressed interest in motorbikes (7 per cent national average), 15 per cent for bicycles (9 per cent national average), 15 per cent for mopeds (6 per cent) and 16 per cent for vans (8 per cent national average).

Nicola Richmond, Head of Churchill Expert Flexible Fleet Partnerships, said: “Our research shows that young drivers are at the forefront of embracing flexible ownership models, reflecting their evolving needs and priorities. Over the past few years, we have seen a shift in ownership trends across several products areas, from TV and music streaming services to mobile phones. The demand for flexible ownership and the willingness to explore alternative vehicle types shows the landscape of car ownership is also changing. Churchill Expert is ready to support car subscription and flexible vehicle fleets looking for an insurance partner.”

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