Two-Thirds of Consumers are ‘Sustainability-Minded Drivers,’ Accenture Report Finds
Carmakers should act fast to respond to consumers’ desire for more sustainable mobility
Nearly two-thirds of consumers are “sustainability-minded drivers,” rating themselves as very or extremely environmentally concerned, which will require automakers to evolve their offerings to meet increased demand for automotive sustainability, according to a report by Accenture.
Based on a survey of 8,500 consumers from the U.S., China, and eight countries in Europe, the report, “Busting automotive sustainability myths,” looks at the challenges facing automakers considering the demand for sustainability and digitization related to mobility. The report is part of Accenture’s “What digital drivers want” series.
A key finding: Sustainability is no longer a secondary concern for car buyers and drivers. Not only are 64 percent of the respondents sustainability-minded drivers, but most prefer that their next vehicle be a new-energy vehicle (NEV) — i.e., battery electric, hybrid electric, natural gas, plug-in hybrid electric, flexible fuel or fuel cell electric. They don’t want new vehicles with internal combustion engines. And it’s not just sustainability-minded drivers who would prefer an NEV for their next vehicle, as more than half (53 percent) of less sustainability-minded drivers also say they would prefer NEVs.
“Despite popular belief, the race for becoming — and being seen as — a sustainable car brand isn’t over yet,” said Axel Schmidt, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads its Automotive industry practice globally. “The market for electric vehicles was the only significantly growing segment in 2020. Drivers are ready for sustainable mobility, but there are still some hurdles, starting from the charging infrastructure to the still relatively high price per kWh.”
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In sustainability, the brand takes a back seat
Sustainability-minded drivers are not committed to a particular brand. In fact, 97 percent of them would change brands for a more-sustainable vehicle, and 99 percent would do so for greater sustainability in service and repairs. The report notes that automakers that fail to compete for the hearts and minds of sustainability-minded drivers — i.e., by not making the necessary sustainability investments — will lose customers to competitors that have shown a stronger focus on and commitment to sustainability.
“Drivers are increasingly challenging long held beliefs amongst many top executives and marketeers in the automotive industry that consumers would never be willing to pay a premium for sustainability,” said Peter Lacy, chief responsibility officer and global sustainability services lead at Accenture. “In one of the most disrupted industries globally – in the face of connected technologies, electrification of transport and autonomous vehicles – embracing and helping sustainability minded-drivers translate their values into their purchases is and will be a major competitive battlefield for the future.”
Drivers will pay a premium for sustainability
Among the many automotive myths the report busts is that most drivers are very price-sensitive and won’t pay more for greater sustainability. The report finds that sustainability-minded drivers are not only willing to switch to NEVs but would pay a higher price for a “sustainable vehicle.” For instance, 30 percent of sustainability-minded drivers are willing to pay one percent to five percent more for a sustainable vehicle, with an additional 60+ percent willing to pay at least six percent more — including four percent who, surprisingly, say they would pay 25 percent more.
Sustainability-minded drivers are also willing to accept certain other trade-offs for a sustainable vehicle, with more than six in 10 willing to accept a car with a less-attractive, more-functional design (63 percent) or a car with reduced performance (62 percent). In other words, sustainability-minded drivers are willing to accept trade-offs on factors that many in the automotive industry believe are critical, non-negotiable purchase criteria.
For more information and to view a copy of the report, please visit: Accenture.com/AutoSustainabilityMyths