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Close to half of car buyers remain ‘on the fence’ about eco issues, eBay Motors Group finds

  • Survey of 2,000 in-market buyers finds 44.8 per cent of consumers are on the fence over green issues
  • eBay Motors Group’s latest Consumer Insight Panel found that 25.4 per cent are ‘committed’ when it comes to the environment
  • Research also finds that 29.8 per cent  of buyers are ‘dismissive’ of environmental issues and climate change

Time 11:50 am, February 24, 2022

Nearly half of car buyers remain ‘on the fence’ about the environment and climate change when considering their next vehicle, a new study has shown.

Ebay Motors Group conducted a survey of 2,000 in-market buyers as part of its latest Consumer Insight Panel.

The research, titled The Role of the Environment and Sustainability in Car Buying Journey, found that 44.8 per cent of buyers remain on the fence about green issues.


Around a quarter – 25.4 per cent – said they were ‘committed’ when it came to climate change and the environment.

Meanwhile, slightly more buyers – 29.8 per cent – were described as ‘dismissive’.

The survey found that committed buyers are concerned about green issues and believe their purchasing behaviour can make a difference and have already made positive changes.

The segment is more likely to be over 35, have children aged over five-years-old and a household income of over £43,500.


Gender is evenly split and they favour new and nearly-new cars.

On the fence buyers are less likely to exhibit strong views on green matters, acknowledge some of the issues but behavioural change is mixed.

They are more likely to be female, have children aged up to nine-years-old and an average household income of £40,800.

They also have a slight bias towards buying used cars.

Dismissive buyers believe that climate change is exaggerated, have not made any positive changes and think their actions are pointless.

This segment is more likely to be male, aged 18-34, with below average household income of £37,100.

They are more likely to buy used cars aged over two-years-old.

Committed buyers far more likely to go electric

Of those buyers not currently running an EV, but expecting to purchase one in the next buying cycle, 29.8 per cent fell into the committed segment.

Elsewhere 21.3 per cent were on the fence and just 14.3 per cent were dismissive.

Within the committed category, male buyers were more inclined to go electric. The research also found households with incomes over £60,000 are 32 per cent more likely to buy an EV in the next buying cycle.

When researching an EV purchase, committed buyers will look to at least three main sources of support: visiting a dealer (49 per cent), a review website (48 per cent) and car search website (41 per cent).


Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group, said: ‘With environmental and sustainability considerations playing greater roles in everyday lives, our research has pinpointed how they are shaping the decisions of some consumers more than others.

‘As EVs move away from the domain of early adopters and into the mainstream, it’s useful for dealers to have a greater understanding of what is informing the decision-making process of buyers and be aware of these emergent typologies.

‘Our research suggests committed buyers are likely to have made the decision to go electric, if they don’t already own one, but still value the support provided by visiting a dealer, reading reviews and researching models on car search sites.

‘Unsurprisingly, they are also the group most interested in understanding the dealer’s own approach to the environment and sustainability, with 61 per cent claiming that dealers that can demonstrate their green credentials will earn their loyalty and recommendation, compared to 46 per cent overall.

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‘A consultative approach, explaining the pros and cons of EVs, would certainly benefit on the fence buyers.

‘This is the largest group, representing just under half of all buyers, so time spent with them would be appreciated, even though going electric might not yet be the right solution for their needs.

‘While dismissive buyers are unlikely to be swayed, it’s still worth discussing electric alternatives to combustion engines from a performance or running cost perspective as that might plant the seed for future purchases.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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