China Insights

Chinese buyers most willing to spend big for car

Alex Kuhnel

COO Consumer Intelligence, Kantar Media

Auto 05.01.2016 / 09:50

Chinese family on car

41% potential car buyers prepare to spend equivalent of 30,000 euros or more on a new car - a distant leader compared with other markets.

Kantar Media's global network of TGI recently published a study on worldwide trends in car ownership and purchase intention, which reveals in detail the - often dramatic - fluctuations by market of consumers who have a car, what sort they have and who is seeking to buy a new car in the future.

Among Chinese adults*, 33% intent to buy a car, one of the highest among all markets covered in this research report, compared to 33% in France and Australia, 32% in Britain, 29% in US, 21% in Germany, and only 6% in South Korea and 4% in India.

Key Numbers

  • 41% of potential Chinese car buyers are willing to spend equivalent of 30,000 euros or more on a new car
  • 14% in Germany
  • 10% in UK
  • 10% in Australia
  • 5% in Spain
  • 4% in France

For all potential buyers, 41% would willingly spend the equivalent of euro 30,000 or more on a new car, a distant leader among all markets surveyed, as the proportion was only 14% in Germany, 10% in UK and Australia, 5% for Spain and 4% for France. It again underlines the value potential of the China market to the automotive industry.

It could be partly explained by the fact that car ownership in China is still relatively low. In China (for China car ownership only, no licence information gathered), the figure is 34%, while 84% of adults (aged 18+) in France have a driving licence themselves and a car in the household, compared to 81% in Germany and the United States, 75% in Spain, 74% in Australia, 67% in Japan and 64% in Britain.

In China, 25% of 18-24 year olds have access to a car at home, rising steeply to 48% for 25-34 year olds. However, car ownership drop off sharply after around age 45, very different to Europe where those in later middle age are amongst the most likely groups to have a car. This can be explained in part by it being common practice in China for the older generation to be supported by their children, who may also have offsprings themselves, thus stretching their disposable income beyond car ownership.

In China, going online is the most relied upon means of information when buying a new car, followed by recommendations from friends and relatives.

When it comes to the specific choice criteria that are important to new car buyers when making their selection, there are some key variations. In China, safety is of particular importance (and the only country ranking safety first), followed by the car brand itself and then the service and repair network. In US, price is most important, followed by reliability and then fuel consumption. In Germany, Spain and Britain, South Africa, price also tops the list. But in France, comfort and safety are more important considerations.

Source: Kantar Media

Editor's notes

* TGI survey in China covers 100,000 samples a year in Chinese cities and is representative of 180 million urban residents.

* Timescale for purchase intention varies by countries. It is "in the next two years" for France, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and Spain. It is "in the coming year" for India. It is "at a certain time in the future" for China.

* To reach the author, or to know more information, data and analysis of China's auto market, please contact us.

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