Consumer perception of pre-owned electric vehicles in UK
November 10th, 2023, Janice Fernandes

Consumer perception of pre-owned electric vehicles in UK

The used-car market saw electric car sales soar in Q2 of 2023 so, as we come to the end of the year, we delve into the various aspects of consumer opinions and choices regarding used EVs.

Polling data shows that, while a majority of Brits are unlikely to consider purchasing an EV (54%), a fifth of respondents (20%) are open to the idea.

Notably, younger consumers are far likelier to consider purchasing second-hand EVs. For instance, 18-24-year-olds exhibit the highest inclination (34%) toward considering a second-hand EV, closely followed by 25-34-year-olds (30%). While inclination levels among those aged 45-54 are low (17%), they are still twice as likely as those aged over 55 (9%) to make this purchase consideration.

Which factors persuade consumers to consider purchasing a pre-owned EV?

Among potential buyers, the most prevalent motivator is the lower purchase price compared to new EVs (65%). A desire to contribute to a greener environment ranks high, with 61% selecting reduced environmental impact as a motivator. Additionally, 57% of consumers find the prospect of lower operating and maintenance costs compelling enough to consider a second-hand EV.

It's worth noting that younger Britons (18-24-year-olds) place less emphasis on the lower purchase price (45%) and exhibit a stronger inclination toward reducing environmental impact (51%) as a motivating factor.

The availability of incentives or rebates is a persuasive factor for approximately two in five UK consumers (41%). The 55+ age group places significant emphasis on this incentive, with 56% indicating it would encourage them to explore the option.

Additionally, three-tenths (29%) cite the desire to experience electric vehicle technology as a motivating factor, with the 45-54 age group over-indexing (37%).

Concerns about the depreciation of new EVs serve as a relatively less common but still sizeable motivator, with 22% of all respondents citing it as a factor. This concern is slightly more prevalent among the 45-54 age group (29%).

What factors discourage Britons from purchasing used EVs?

For respondents who are unlikely to consider purchasing a used EV, several factors serve as deterrents. The most prevalent barrier, cited by 69% of respondents, is related to battery health and range. The uncertainty about how long an electric car battery will last appears to be a common concern across most age groups, with only minor variations.

The second most significant barrier is the lack of charging infrastructure in the vicinity, affecting 63% of respondents. Followed by high upfront costs for used EVs (49%).

Over a third of respondents are concerned about higher operating and maintenance costs (37%) and uncertainty about the vehicle's history and condition (35%).

The perception of used EVs as less reliable than new ones (26%) and limited availability of used EV models (19%) rounds out the concerns deterring UK consumers from considering a pre-owned EV.

When it comes to gathering information, online research and forums are the primary choice for 49% of respondents likely to consider a used EV. The 45-54 age group particularly favours this source, with 68% relying on it, whereas only a third of those aged 18-24 say the same (36%).

Recommendations from friends or family is the least preferred, with only 7% of all respondents choosing this option, along with social media (7%). While around one in ten consumers turn to dealerships (9%), automotive publications/reviews are a popular choice for 19% of respondents. Consumers over 55 years are most likely to refer to auto publications (29%), followed by 21% of 35-44-year-olds. However, younger consumers between the ages of 18 to 24 years are not far behind with 19% saying they primarily get their information about pre-owned EVs from auto publications.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on November 3-6, 2023, with a nationally representative sample of 2,084 adults in the United States (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education and region to be representative of all adults. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

Image: Getty Images