US: Navigating the car subscription service market
July 25th, 2022, Hoang Nguyen

US: Navigating the car subscription service market

The automotive industry was heavily impacted over the last two years by pandemic-induced shortages and evolving consumer preferences. One of these changes to consumer behavior includes the shift toward car-subscription services—an alternative to leasing or owning a car—where a customer pays a monthly fee to use a car for a period that they decide, with no commitment or extra costs.

YouGov has been tracking activity and consumer perceptions around car subscriptions and there has been a recent surge in consumer preference for this type of business model.

The data comes from our most recent automotive quarterly trends report and shows among those aware of car subscriptions, the likelihood of using such a service has increased in Q1 2022 (47%) by five percentage points compared to Q4 2021 (42%).

Download the full YouGov report into drivers' changing attitudes to car subscription services

Who’s using car subscription services and why?

Looking at Americans who currently use car subscription services, most users in Q1 2022 fall between the ages of 30-44, are female and make less than 75% of the median income.

However, YouGov’s quarterly trended data indicates car subscriptions are now being adopted by higher earning consumers. The highest quarterly growth has taken place among those earning higher than 200% of the median income.

We also asked consumers what they find appealing about car subscription services and among likely users, two in five (41%) say convenience is the top factor. Over a third indicate they would subscribe to one for roadside assistance (37%) or simply to try out new features and car models (35%). Close to a third (31%) of likely users also say it’s easier to subscribe to a car program than buy a car outright or lease one.

The thought of renting a vehicle for a short period of time with no long-term commitments (22%) or having the flexibility to swap cars (30%) also appeals to many likely users. Roughly a fifth of all consumers think they’ll spend less overall to use a car subscription program (21%).