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March 25, 2008

Demographics of Hybrid Vehicle Owners


According to a recent study by Acxiom, a business intelligence and data mining firm, North American hybrid vehicle owners are likely to be: higher income, live on the coast, and tech-savvy.   OK, that seems quite obvious... With the average premium on a hybrid  around $6000 (less after tax rebate if it applies), owning a hybrid is an environmental statement for folks with the cash to spare.  Plus, with its different drive system, a hybrid is a cool gadget that allows for hours of fun experimentation.  Interestingly, the study notes that selling hybrid vehicles is a winning approach to induce customers to switch brands.  Yep, makes sense too... today's hybrid market affords few choices within particular budget level and vehicle class.

Autogroups_2The study, second in a series of consumer automotive dynamics, is based on data mining of a US consumer databases.  It categorized car buyers demographics as per this chart. (Click image at right to enlarge)

While we already know that hybrid owners are trendsetters, some interesting findings from this report are that:


  • mainstream automakers are making inroads with the luxury market via hybrids (I bet this would be true with plug-in, electric, fuel-cell, or biofuel too)
  • there are a lot more market-share room for hybrid growth - the "Upper Rung" demographics is still a relatively untapped market for hybrids.  Currently only about 2% in this demographic own a hybrid!  (Total 2007 U.S. hybrid sales as reported by = 320,380)
  • hybrid buyers are more interested in science and space, environmental issues, science fiction and such activities as music collection and camping  (my translation: fast car is no longer the main criteria for cars being cool and that means more marketing niches.  This should be good news to automakers.)

In case you are interested, look at the full report at the Acxiom website.
Study Methodology: The Automotive Consumer Dynamics is the industry’s first comprehensive, consumer-centric view of the U.S. automotive market. Developed from the world’s largest repository of up-to-date U.S. consumer intelligence (InfoBase-XTM) and Acxiom’s industry leading PersonicX® life-stage segmentation, Automotive Consumer Dynamics applies sophisticated modeling and analyses to deliver a powerful combination of hindsight, insight and foresight that spans over 200 million U.S. consumers representing 124 million households and over 50 million vehicle purchase / trade-in transactions.

Extrazoom Marn-Yee Lee
Contributing Editor

Marn-Yee Lee is pursuing an MBA in Sustainability at the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco.  After spending a decade in I.T. and on Wall Street, she is now pursuing her passion for the environment.  She sees business as a partner for creating innovative solutions to pressing environmental issues. In her spare time, she writes a blog to inspire others to consider the impact of their daily lives on the environment at

Flickr photo by ~dabbler~  (formerly jowo)


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