Nearly a third (31%) of people across the globe without a car intend to buy one in the next six months, 45% of those will be millennials.

Millennials (24-39 years-old) are expected to lead a car ownership boom in the coming six months across the globe, representing 45% of all first-time car owners according to the results of the 2020 EY Mobility Consumer Index, which surveyed more than 3,300 consumers across nine countries.

Nearly a third (31%) of those respondents who do not currently own a car say they plan to buy one in the next six months, while 1 in 5 (20%) that already own a car say they would be open to purchasing an additional vehicle. Both groups cited the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the top reasons for their purchases.

More than three-quarters (78%) of respondents say that they are going to be more likely to use their cars for travel in a post-pandemic world with millennials making more than half of that number (52%).

71% of non-car owners currently seeking a new car are looking to buy a gasoline or diesel model, with just 6% looking to purchase a purely electric vehicle and 23% looking to buy a hybrid.

John Simlett, EY Global Future of Mobility Leader, says: “The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the marketplace. Millennials leading the increase in global car ownership would have been unthinkable a year ago, particularly in terms of buying non-electric cars. The industry should recognize that there is a new market out there that didn’t exist until very recently. [...]”

The survey also finds that public transport will be severely hit, with a 69% reduction in public transport use for work, a 61% fall in usage for leisure and entertainment pursuits, and a 53% decline for household and social travel.

Across the UK, travel for work declined 54%, the smallest decline, whilst for household and social travel (42%) it was the third highest decline.

Respondents from Italy (47%) and Germany (46%) are more likely to purchase a new car. Meanwhile, respondents from China were most likely to increase their car usage (90% of respondents), closely followed by India (85%) and Germany (81%).

Simlett says: “The numbers in emerging markets like India and China will bring optimism to automotive executives who will have been concerned about the expected sales recovery in those regions. While sales in these markets have already bounced back to some extent, there is room for that trend to continue and this seems to suggest that there is healthy demand on the horizon.”