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New car boom being powered by older, wealthier buyers

  • New research by Auto Trader finds strong new car market is being powered by older, richer buyers
  • Electric vehicle buyers twice as likely to earn more than £75,000
  • Buyers consider average of 10.8 brands before settling on new vehicle

Time 3 months ago

The current boom in the new car market is being powered by older, wealthier buyers, fresh data has revealed.

With the market at a level of unprecedented strength, Auto Trader has been researching which demographics are most responsible.

The platform says there is a ‘new love for new cars’ with May 2021 seeing a record number of leads, up 218.9 per cent compared to the same period last year – when the country was in lockdown.


Auto Trader’s analysis unsurprisingly found that more aged and well-to-do customers are buying the most new cars.

Electric vehicles in particular remain the preserve of the wealthy, with buyers twice as likely to be from a household with an income of more than £75,000.

Despite some growth in EV sales, new car buyers are still primarily focussed on internal combustion vehicles.

A whopping 91 per cent of Auto Trader’s  new car audience looked at petrol cars and 79 per cent at diesel. 


The volume of new car buyers looking at alternative fuel vehicles is growing however, with 36 per cent looking at petrol plug-in hybrids and 29 per cent looking at electric cars.

The research also named the midlands and the north west of England as the best performing areas.

Among the most interesting revelations was that buyers now have a less clear idea on what they want to buy.

Customers now consider an average of 10.8 different brands before settling on their new vehicle, says Auto Trader.

Of those brands, the German big three of Audi, BMW and Mercedes were the most viewed.

However, with volume brands having a higher market penetration, this is largely down to aspirational searches.

The fastest growing brands in terms of new car advert views on the platform are Mini, Skoda and MG.

Advertisements with over 25 images performed best – attracting an average of 8.9 views per day compared to just two for adverts with up to five photos.

‘Significant crossover’ 

Auto Trader reports there is now significant crossover between premium and volume brand buyers.

An incredible 91.8 per cent of buyers consider a premium brand compared to 83.7 per cent considering a volume brand. 

That is also true when it comes to new and used buyers.

Just over 60 per cent of buyers who looked at a vehicle up to one-year-old also looked at a new cars.

The analysis also found that 45 per cent of buyers looking at a one to three-year-old cars also looked at a new car.

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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