Millennial men – with lots of money – are leading the way on buying electric cars
Men dominate the electric-car segment as car companies lean on performance-heavy ad campaigns.
EVs are still expensive, but more mainstream buyers are getting in the market.
Non-luxury EVs are attracting former luxury buyers.
Millennial men – with lots of money – are leading the way on electric-vehicle purchases.
As more electric vehicles have hit the market, the buyer base for them is continuing to skew younger. Millennials continue to snap up the majority of battery-powered vehicles on sale, according to data provided by J.D. Power, with Gen X close behind.
Since 2019, Gen X has overtaken the Boomer generation as the second-largest pool of EV buyers in the U.S., J.D. Power's data shows. (Note: J.D. Power does not have access to Tesla buyer data, but those buyers tend to be unique within the more broad EV segment, according to Tyson Jominy, vice president of data and analytics).
The EV segment at the end of 2022 was also leaning more toward male buyers than in 2019, according to J.D. Power's data. Only 28.5% of EV buyers in 2022 were women, compared to 29.1% in 2019.
In the overall car industry, women make up closer to 40% of all buyers, meaning that the EV segment leans much more heavily male than the rest of the industry.
"That doesn't surprise me since the marketing has been performance/tech-oriented," Jominy said. These performance-heavy ad campaigns are typically targeted at male buyers.
While electric vehicle buyers still tend to be wealthier than the average car buyer – the average electric vehicle sold for $58,725 in January, compared to an industry average purchase price of $49,388 – the segment is starting to include more mainstream buyers.
The average credit score for an EV buyer last year was 788, down from an average of 800 in 2019, according to J.D. Power.
Another sign that the EV market is attracting more mainstream buyers is that the segment is changing the way brand loyalty works. A recent study on the EV segment from Edmunds found that EV models are nabbing customers from rival brands at a higher rate than other vehicles. This is shredding the brand loyalty car companies have spent decades perfecting.
The same Edmunds study also found that these buyers are more typically trading in luxury vehicles for their electric cars, even if the EV they're buying isn't from another luxury brand. The share of luxury trade-ins for Kia's EV6, for example, was 18% in the Edmunds study. For the Kia brand more broadly, only about 6% of buyers are trading in luxury vehicles.
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