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Three in five young drivers considering flexible ownership models

Nearly two-thirds (59%) of young drivers (18–34 year olds) are considering flexible car ownership models, according to new research from Churchill Expert.

This represents a stark contrast to the 15% of drivers aged 55 and above and the national average of 33% – 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%) of young drivers own their cars outright, compared to a significant 82% among those aged 55 and above.

The findings also shed light on the role of salary sacrifice schemes in driving the transition to flexible ownership.

Over half (56%) 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%) and one-in-ten (11%) over 55-year-olds.

Young drivers would also consider subscriptions to alternative vehicle types, in addition to cars.

More than half (54%) of 18-34 year-olds expressed their openness to exploring subscription to alternative vehicle options, in contrast to a mere 6% of those aged 55 and above and the national average of 25%.

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

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

Car access model Percentage of all motorists Percentage of young motorists
Outright ownership 70 53
Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) 9 11
Personal Contract Hire (PCH) 6 11
Driving someone else’s car 5 8
Hire Purchase (HP) 3 5
Through work (e.g. company car or salary sacrifice) 3 5
Car subscription 1 4
Short-term rental 0 2
Carshare 0 1
Traditional rental 0 1
Other / have no access to a car 1 0

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