Consumer mobility preferences shift as the global pandemic forces changes


Study offers a quantitative auto market outlook to 2035 

  • The influx of digital and remote technology is accelerating the adoption of CASE

  • Preference for owned vehicles versus shared is growing amid cleanliness concerns

  • Consumers expect automated driving vehicles by the early 2030’s

  • And when it comes to autonomous vehicles, 75% of consumers from Germany, China, and the US would pay a price premium of up to 20% for automated driving services.

NEW YORK – 19 October 2020 – The acceleration of consumer mobility preferences have rapidly shifted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new Strategy& report. The findings from Strategy&’s 9th annual Digital Auto Report focus on how Connected, Automated, Smart Mobility and Electric (CASE) strategies have had to be re-evaluated due to the global pandemic. 

As a result of shifting mobility modes, the survey findings reveal most consumers are hesitant to use shared transportation. Consumers prefer to use their own vehicle over shared mobility and public transportation as a result of COVID-19. Shared mobility decreased the most in Germany with 77% of respondents intending to use less car sharing while the same holds true in both the US (56%) and in China (51%). In both China and the US, consumers prefer the use of their own vehicle, while in Germany, the increase of commuting in cars is still equal to commuting on both bike and foot. Overall, seamless mobility solutions are still key for consumers.

Additionally, the total number of vehicles is expected to decrease in Europe (-1.2%) and increase in both the US (+1.1%) and China (+3.9%) until 2035. This is primarily due to mobility growth (highest in China), consumer preferences for shared mobility (lowest in US) and the average life of a vehicle until it is deposed (highest in Europe).

Though mobility preferences are changing, shared mobility providers can take steps to win back consumers, such as regular cleaning and disinfection. Consumers shared that these things are more important than lower prices in light of the pandemic.

Safety and navigation rank the highest for consumers, followed closely by vehicle management and vehicle features as a service. While connected services are important, the survey findings reveal that only consumers primarily in China (58%) are willing to pay for these services. .

Gasoline continues to be the most preferred powertrain in both Germany and the US. In China, 68% of consumers under the age of 40 prefer electric powertrains, while only 46% in Germany and 37% in the US prefer electric powertrains. 

Anil Khurana, PwC Global Leader, Industrial Manufacturing & Automotive comments, "Consumers’ mobility preferences are rapidly changing based on comfortability and technology. It’s paramount that the mobility industry quickly adapts to the new needs and expectations of consumers. CASE technologies and COVID-19 are game changers that will have lasting effects for years to come." 


Notes to editors

  1. The complete results of the first part of the “Digital Auto Report 2020” can be found here

  2. The second and third parts of the “Digital Auto Report 2020” will be published on market forecasts and financial developments as well as organizational requirements in the coming weeks.

  3. Strategy& is PwC's global strategy consultancy. We develop individual business strategies for globally leading companies based on differentiating competitive capabilities. We are the only strategy consultancy as part of a global professional services network. We combine our expertise with technology and use it to develop a suitable strategy that can be efficiently implemented. For us, “strategy, made real” means driving digital change, helping to shape the future and turning visions into reality. 


For the consumer perspective, every 1,000 consumers in Germany, the USA and China were surveyed online in July and August 2020, representative of the population.


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