Entering 2023, the automotive industry is facing what is arguably the most disruptive period in a century. The dominance of the internal combustion engine looks to be finally coming to an end as greener transport becomes a priority – a shift driven as much by government regulation as consumer demand. The ongoing quest for autonomous vehicles will also continue. Meanwhile, micromobility will become a preferred option for many in urban areas.
Our Trending 2023 report explores the critical consumer mindsets for the year ahead, including four brand new consumer trends, several of which have implications for the automotive and mobility sector. As consumers enter 2023 in a rebellious mood, they are questioning established norms, defying authority and side-stepping received wisdom. They want to take back control in a volatile and uncertain world and to rewrite the narrative on their own terms.
Below are 3 insights into what the consumer rebellion means for mobility:
1. Be aware of drivers’ Now or Never mentality
This will be a critical year in the growing adoption of electric vehicles, as consumers get to grips with issues such as higher purchase price, the practicalities of charging at home and range anxiety. As always in the case of transitions to new and unfamiliar technology, brands will have an important educator role to play for consumers who may be wary and confused by upcoming regulations and new models. It’s notable that while 18% of global consumers strongly agree they would consider buying an electric car, only 3% report that their household owns one.
Another aspect to consider is that with many markets around the world legislating to ban ICE vehicles in the years ahead in favour of electric vehicles, manufacturers are phasing out petrol and diesel variants. Particularly when it comes to premium models that could become collectors’ items, there is an opportunity here for manufacturers to appeal to buyers’ sense that they have one last chance to own such a vehicle. This mindset is an important aspect of our new trend Now or Never. For instance, BMW marked the demise of its V12 engine with its M760Li Final Edition model, available in limited numbers only in the US.
2. Driverless vehicles have implications for those Going Incognito
Autonomous technology is another area of innovation set to disrupt the automotive sector. While many vehicles already have numerous features such as self-parking, fully driverless cars are still some way off. As well as the technological obstacles, there could be reluctance on the part of some consumers. Our data shows that while 4 in 10 globally agree they would be willing to use a driverless car, 1 in 3 disagree.
Some new vehicles feature in-car cameras to monitor driver attention levels, and new EU laws mean that all new cars will be fitted with sat nav/tracking from 2024. Some consumers may see this as a further erosion of their right to privacy. Auto brands should be upfront about these innovations and how they benefit the consumer, creating open channels of communication to answer any questions and ease concerns. This is pertinent to another of our new trends from Trending 2023, Going Incognito, which is all about striving for privacy and invisibility in an age of omnipresent surveillance.
3. Mainstream micromobility is a prime example of Moveable Morality
Recent years have seen a rapid growth in the use of micromobility vehicles such as e-scooters, electrically assisted pedal cycles, shared bicycles and electric skateboards. The NUMO New Mobility Atlas reported in April 2022 that 1,026 cities around the world have some form of dockless micromobility scheme, up from 644 six months previously. Meanwhile, Foresight Factory data shows that 12% of consumers globally have an electric bike or scooter in their household, rising to 37% in China.
However, there is some legal ambiguity around micromobility. Some markets embrace it, while others have moved to prevent the use of certain vehicle types. For instance, the public use of e-scooters is currently banned in the UK outside certain trial sharing programmes. Nevertheless, it has been estimated that there are more than 750,000 private e-scooters in the UK, most of them being used illegally (source: PACTS). Such widespread lawbreaking is an example of our new trend Moveable Morality, which describes how consumers are questioning centralised authority in favour of personal judgements about what is right. Many will appreciate brands who campaign to have laws changed to reflect responsible consumer desires, while at the same time striving to uphold safety and security.
Dive deeper into the data with Collision
The charts in this post were created using our trends intelligence platform Collision, where you can instantly access trended consumer data spanning 27 global markets. You can explore the data by sector, theme or business application, cutting it by more than 180 different audience breaks to find the stats that matter and uncover the opportunities to make an impact.