Press release

12 Nov 2020 London, GB

Millennials to lead COVID-induced car ownership boom – EY survey

LONDON, 12 NOVEMBER 2020. Millennials (24-39 years-old) are expected to lead a car ownership boom in the coming six months across the globe, representing 45% of all first-time car owners according to the results of the 2020 EY Mobility Consumer Index, which surveyed more than 3,300 consumers across nine countries.

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Ernst & Young Global Ltd.

Related topics Automotive
  • Nearly a third (31%) of people without a car intend to buy one in the next six months, 45% of those will be millennials
  • Only 6% seek a purely electric vehicle 
  • Public transport use for work travel declined by 69% from pre-pandemic levels

Millennials (24-39 years-old) are expected to lead a car ownership boom in the coming six months across the globe, representing 45% of all first-time car owners according to the results of the 2020 EY Mobility Consumer Index, which surveyed more than 3,300 consumers across nine countries.

Nearly a third (31%) of those respondents who do not currently own a car say they plan to buy one in the next six months, while 1 in 5 (20%) that already own a car say they would be open to purchasing an additional vehicle. Both groups cited the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the top reasons for their purchases. 

More than three-quarters (78%) of respondents say that they are going to be more likely to use their cars for travel in a post-pandemic world with millennials making more than half of that number (52%). 

71% of non-car owners currently seeking a new car are looking to buy a gasoline or diesel model, with just 6% looking to purchase a purely electric vehicle and 23% looking to buy a hybrid. 

John Simlett, EY Global Future of Mobility Leader, says:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the marketplace. Millennials leading the increase in global car ownership would have been unthinkable a year ago, particularly in terms of buying non-electric cars. The industry should recognize that there is a new market out there that didn’t exist until very recently. But with more people buying cars and car usage expected to increase, this leaves policymakers with some very difficult questions to answer: How to accommodate all these cars on our roads aim for a more diverse mobility mix? How will this trend impact public transport investment? Quite simply, is this sustainable, and if not, what needs to be done and by whom?”

Public transport usage falls dramatically, as China and Italy lead automotive boom

The survey also finds that public transport will be severely hit, with a 69% reduction in public transport use for work, a 61% fall in usage for leisure and entertainment pursuits, and a 53% decline for household and social travel.   

Respondents from Italy (47%) and Germany (46%) are more likely to purchase a new car. Meanwhile, respondents from China were most likely to increase their car usage (90% of respondents), closely followed by India (85%) and Germany (81%). 

Simlett says: “The numbers in emerging markets like India and China will bring optimism to automotive executives who will have been concerned about the expected sales recovery in those regions. While sales in these markets have already bounced back to some extent, there is room for that trend to continue and this seems to suggest that there is healthy demand on the horizon.” 


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About the EY Mobility Consumer Index

The Mobility Consumer Index (MCI) tracks the impact of COVID-19 on mobility and provides unique insights on the shift witnessed in personal mobility and car buying behavior amidst the pandemic. Based on a global survey of more than 3,300 consumers in nine countries (China, Germany, India, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States) during August 2020, the MCI offers a perspective around the changing travel patterns and preferences, centered on the rise of working from home, reduced time on entertainment & socializing, and an increasingly digital behavior. The index also offers insights around mobility choices and buying behaviors of a diverse set of consumer personas.

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

About EY Advanced Manufacturing and Mobility

Urbanization, changing consumer expectations and emerging digital technologies are reshaping what’s possible, from the production and distribution of goods to the transportation of people. To succeed in this new world of mobility and smart manufacturing, incumbents must transform themselves at unprecedented speed — to think like an innovative start-up, tap into new talent and engage the customer. With experience across the value chain and key technology alliances, our teams show clients how to create efficiencies now while adopting digitization and optionality for long-term growth. Automotive, transportation, aerospace, defense, chemicals and industrial products companies can draw on the strength of our network of cross-industry players and put our diverse range of approaches to use today to equip their businesses for tomorrow.