The study explores how open the Swiss population is to new forms of mobility, such as e-mobility, car-sharing, or digital car purchases, and how they are already utilizing these modes of transportation. This year’s study focused particularly on the attitudes of different generations, especially Generation Z, towards mobility.
In this blog post, we would like to provide a deeper insight into the study results by interviewing two experts.
Insights from Two Mobility Experts
Prof. Dr. Reto Hofstetter, the study director and professor of digital marketing at the University of Lucerne, and Alberto Sanz de Lama, the Managing Director at AutoScout24, were interviewed.
SMG Swiss Marketplace Group: Prof. Dr. Hofstetter, the “Swiss Mobility Monitor” study was conducted for the second time. In comparison to last year, what are the major differences you observe?
Prof. Dr. Reto Hofstetter: Based on the study results, we can see a partial return to “pre-Covid mobility.” Compared to the previous year, there was a decrease in the percentage of respondents who walk to work, from 35% to 29%. At the same time, public transportation is becoming more popular again, especially trains and buses.
SMG: During the pandemic, many people switched to individual transportation. With the return to “pre-Covid mobility,” does the importance of cars decrease?
Prof. Dr. Reto Hofstetter: Not at all, as the Swiss Mobility Monitor results show. The connection to cars, especially those owned by individuals, remains extremely strong and identity-forming. In particular, Generation Z emphasizes in the study that owning their own car is very important as a status symbol.
SMG: So, for Generation Z, owning a car has a high value. Does this mean that car-sharing, where you share a car with friends, family, or commercially, is insignificant?
Prof. Dr. Reto Hofstetter: I wouldn’t say it’s insignificant, but yes, the willingness to use such sharing services is currently low and growing slowly. Only around 9% of the respondents stated that they already use sharing services. One reason for this could be that many perceive car-sharing as inflexible. However, the study indicates potential for car-sharing among Generation Z. This generation has a stronger sense of ownership towards this type of mobility compared to other generations.
SMG: Mr. Sanz de Lama, there are other ways to use a car without owning it. What about the car subscription model, for example?
Alberto Sanz de Lama: Car subscription usage is slowly gaining traction in Switzerland and is still in its early stages. Only 2% of the respondents in the Swiss Mobility Monitor stated that they already use a car subscription. The highest potential for using this model lies once again with Generation Z. Compared to other generations, they are more open to the car subscription model, have greater trust in it, and are more willing to make a purchase. Many young people do not have the necessary savings to buy their own car right away. Using a car subscription to bridge that gap, where you pay a monthly fee for the car, can be very practical. I am convinced that car subscriptions will become more popular in the future. Just like electric mobility was in its infancy 10 years ago and is now indispensable. Perhaps we will see a similar phenomenon with car subscriptions.
SMG: Electric mobility is a good point. What did the Swiss Mobility Monitor find regarding this?
Alberto Sanz de Lama: Contrary to assumptions, the factors that would motivate car owners to switch to an electric car do not primarily include low purchase prices. A better-developed charging infrastructure, both at home and in public spaces, is seen as more important. This shows that the charging infrastructure in Switzerland still needs significant improvement in the future. However, there might be a stumbling block: Switzerland is a country of renters. Currently, tenants do not have the right to install charging stations; they often have to rely on the goodwill of landlords. I hope that in the future, political measures and incentives will be put in place to address this issue. Only then can we achieve a complete transition to electric mobility.
SMG: The Swiss Mobility Monitor shows that online car purchases are gaining momentum but are still not widespread. What does this mean for the online platform AutoScout24?
Alberto Sanz de Lama: Digitalization has significantly increased the purchase of goods in recent years. However, buying a car is not financially comparable to ordering groceries online. After buying a property, purchasing a car is usually the second most expensive investment in a person’s life. People compare prices, models, condition, and features in detail and carefully consider their decision. This is where AutoScout24 plays a crucial role in the decision-making process because our platform offers comparison options, a wide selection, and price transparency. However, we don’t want to stop at comparison options alone. Currently, there are over 2,000 vehicles listed on AutoScout24 that can be purchased online. With this option, the vehicle is reserved online through our platform, a test drive is arranged with the provider, and then the car can be delivered to the buyer’s home. In the future, we want to further digitize certain steps in the process, always with the aim of providing added value to both the industry and users.
Many thanks to Prof. Dr. Reto Hofstetter and Alberto Sanz de Lama for their in-depth insights into the topic.
- Online panel by LINK from the three language regions of Switzerland.
- Representative Swiss sample with 1,052 individuals.
- Survey period: January 30 to February 9, 2023.
Average age: 45.1 years
Gender distribution: 49.1% female / 50.5% male
Language regions: 70.5% German / 23.8% French / 5.7% Italian
Baby boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964
Generation X: Born between 1965 and 1980
Generation Y: Born between 1981 and 1996
Generation Z: Born between 1997 and 2012