Women driving the transformation of the KSA automotive market

The Saudi Press Agency reported in September 2017 that a decree had been signed by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud allowing women to apply for driving licenses with immediate effect. However, it is expected that women will only start driving on June 24, 2018.

This is an exciting time as Saudi Arabia has taken concrete steps to advance the gender equality agenda which in turn will boost the automotive market in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia​ and present an array of opportunities for:

Government, strategic investors (local and foreign), motor insurance companies, car leasing companies, pension funds, private investors, etc. are looking at providing innovative solutions to serve the rapidly expanding automotive sector in Saudi Arabia.

Demographics of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s female population is projected to reach 15m in 2020, 20% of which are projected to drive based on their age and income qualification.




The total number of female drivers in Saudi Arabia is projected to reach 3.0m in 2020. In comparison, male drivers are set to increase from 9m in 2017 to 9.5m in 2020.

What will change?

Market opportunity

The addition of 3 million new women drivers to Saudi Arabia’s automotive market by 2020 will open a host of incremental opportunities for investors and industry participants, ranging from car sales to motor insurance, vehicle leasing and driving schools.

Private driving licenses

The volume of new driving licenses issued is expected to increase significantly by 2020 as women begin to apply for driving licenses from Q2 2018. This will be the primary, direct enabler for all the resulting demand for car related services.

Driving schools

Driving schools will be among the first service providers to benefit from the automotive market opening to women.

When considering the scale of the market opportunity, we find there are 1.1 driving schools per million residents in Riyadh vs. 1.8 driving schools per million residents in Dubai. This indicates an opportunity to increase by over 50% the number of driving institutions in the Saudi Arabian capital. It is expected that the Kingdom’s of Saudi Arabia new driving schools will be women-only, which will in turn create a large number of job opportunities for female driving instructors.

Car sales

Car sales are expected to grow by 9% per annum until 2025 boosted by the new women customer segment, compared to 3% annual growth in the past four years. Market growth in new car sales is expected to be largely captured by existing new car dealers well established in Saudi Arabia. However, there will be significant opportunities for market entry in the used cars segment in the short to medium term.

Car leasing

We anticipate car leasing to pick up substantially with an annual growth rate of 4% over 2017-2025, compared to 2% per annum historically. The car leasing market in KSA is quite fragmented, which highlights the opportunity for both consolidation of existing players and new entrants to capture a share of the rapidly growing market.

Motor insurance

Over the years, the motor insurance market has experienced robust growth driven by increased insurance spending. Currently, there are 27 companies providing motor insurance in KSA. We expect the motor insurance market to grow by 9% annually between 2017-2020 to reach SAR 30bn.

The highly competitive motor insurance market will benefit from the new women drivers segment. This will also create opportunities for new motor insurance providers, products and services. Further dynamics, enhanced by the rapid market expansion, are expected to reshape the motor insurance landscape:

  • Insurers’ risk models, in the initial years, are expected to reflect higher premiums resulting from the lack of data on the large number of new women drivers
  • New technology enabled motor insurance products and functionalities will expand rapidly such as automated insurance claims clearance, ease of application, personalisation of risk assessment and pricing

Key opportunities in Saudi Arabia’s automotive market following the introduction of women drivers

Large number of new jobs will be created across segments of the automotive sector to serve the fast growing demand

Incremental capital investments will be required to build new road infrastructure

Recalculation of insurance premiums will increase insurance revenues as risk profiles will change with the introduction of women to the driving population

New women-only driving schools will be established

Driving a brighter economic outlook

In the longer term, the overall increase in cars on the road will have a significant impact on Saudi Arabia’s traffic. The Government will need to accelerate the upgrade and expansion of the road infrastructure to accommodate the influx of additional drivers. Future investments should also be considered for the development and maintenance of car parking areas.

Mapping the impact of women’s driving on the KSA ecosystem

Contact us

Hala Kudwah

Hala Kudwah

Partner | KSA Financial Services Consulting Leader, PwC Middle East

Tel: +966 (11) 2110400 Ext :1516

Laurent Depolla

Laurent Depolla

Deals Strategy & Operations Leader, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 26 946811

Zubin Chiba

Zubin Chiba

Corporate Finance Leader, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 (0) 50 298 3765

Maarten Wolfs

Maarten Wolfs

Capital Projects and Infrastructure Leader, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 4 304 3100

Anil Khurana

Anil Khurana

Middle East Consumer and Industrial Products Leader, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 4 304 3100

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