Women are the top sustainability consumers. Can we get them into EVs? - BlueLabs Analytics

Women are the top sustainability consumers. Can we get them into EVs?

New insights from BlueLabs reveal that women are nearly as likely as men to be interested in purchasing an EV. BlueLabs’ EV consumer model identifies the American consumers most likely to purchase or lease an EV. By applying this model to our national consumer file of nearly 200M American adults, we found the consumers – about half of whom are women – who make up the next generation of EV adopters.

BlueLabs assigned scores to nearly 200M Americans on the likelihood that they intend to purchase or lease an EV. In aggregate, men and women were about as likely as each other to be potential EV consumers. The dashed line represents the average score across all American adults.

Despite having strong interest in EVs, women are underrepresented as EV buyers and drivers. S&P Global Mobility reported last year that women made up about 41% of new personal vehicle registrations, but only 28% of new EV registrations. 

Women have not yet been the core electric vehicle (EV) consumers, but they could be the next consumers to target. Our analysis indicates that the top EV consumers – those who scored most highly as potential EV adopters – are about evenly split between women and men, but that the lowest scoring Americans were much more likely to be women. Among the lowest scoring individuals, about two-thirds were women and one-third were men.

Women are overrepresented among those likely to be uninterested in purchasing an EV. 
Likely Adopters are the top 10% of scored individuals (top decile of scores) on our EV consumer model, about 19M people. Unlikely Adopters are the lowest 10% of scored individuals (bottom decile of scores), also about 19M people. 

Why were so many women likely to be uninterested in EVs?

Theory 1: Women may hesitate to start driving EVs due to a number of hurdles, including range anxiety, safety concerns during long charging sessions, and high sticker prices. The auto industry also has a long history of masculine-focused design; if more automakers incorporate the design and practical elements of cars that appeal to women, then they may feel more confident in purchasing an EV. 

Theory 2: Women may prioritize certain values more than men when making a vehicle purchase. According to a 2023 study by Edmunds, men tend to be drawn to EVs for their brand names and for their symbolism as the latest luxury technology item.1 Women, meanwhile, appear to respond to more pragmatic information when making a vehicle purchase, such as gasoline cost savings and fighting climate change.

One potential message to lean into when it comes to women and EVs: the planet.

In an analysis of consumer attitudes toward sustainability, BlueLabs found that women were about 50% more likely than men to select products or services based on sustainability.2 Edmunds similarly found that women were two times more likely than men to report “trying to fight climate change” as the most important motivation for purchasing an EV.3

Women aren’t just more interested in sustainability. They also have the purchasing power required to translate sustainable intentions into meaningful actions in the marketplace. To illustrate, we identified nearly 29 million women who rank in the top 20% of scores on our sustainability consumer model; these women are among the people most likely to make purchasing decisions based on sustainability. Among these 29 million women, just under half (13.8 million) are single, and with the average single American woman spending nearly $39,000 in annual expenditures, the market of single women represents $537B in annual spending.4

Women are thus a powerful market for EV makers and retailers to tap into, and their particular demands, priorities, and preferences with regards to EVs should not be ignored.

To be sure, companies have been working to engage women on EVs. Take, for example, the Barbie movie, which featured several GMC-made EVs, including a Chevy EV driven by America Ferrera. (Of course, the Barbie movie didn’t limit the EV driving experience to just women; Ken also drove a Hummer EV.) Apart from mass product placement or marketing campaigns such as the Barbie movie, companies should work to target potential EV consumers with the specific messaging to which they may be most responsive. To continue to drive EV adoption, companies should direct sustainability-focused messaging to the women who score highly on both our EV and sustainability models. 

Other than commitment to sustainability, a few other characteristics make certain subgroups of Americans more likely to be interested in EVs:

  • Age: younger women are more likely to be interested in adopting an EV. Women under 50 years of age were 25% more likely to be a potential EV adopter than the average American. This function of age applies to men, as well. 
  • Urbanicity: people who live in urban areas are higher scoring than those in the suburbs or rural areas. 
  • Across men and women, individuals with high incomes ($125k+) and those who identify as Democrats are higher scoring than low income or Republican individuals, respectively.

To engage with women on EVs and drive the transition to clean transportation, get in touch with us about our EV model and audiences by clicking the link below.

Methodology

Predictive models identify trends within a smaller group of consumers that we know a lot about. We then extrapolate these trends to the general population of Americans ages 18+. To build this model, we:

  • Delivered a multi-modal omnibus poll to the general US adult population in early February (n=1,783) and late August 2023 (n=2,422) to collect data on their likelihood to buy or lease an electric vehicle.5
  • Identified significant data predictors from within our national data file to build a model that assigned scores to individuals based on their likelihood to be interested in acquiring an EV.
  • Applied model to full national data file of nearly 200M American adults to rank-order and identify the people most likely to purchase or lease an EV.
  1. Edmunds. “What’s Driving the Gender Gap in EVs?” Sept. 7, 2023. ↩︎
  2. BlueLabs Consumer Sustainability Model, 2023. ↩︎
  3. Edmunds. “What’s Driving the Gender Gap in EVs?” Sept. 7, 2023. ↩︎
  4. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Expenditure Surveys, 2020-2021, Table 4013. ↩︎
  5. The next time you buy or lease a car, how likely are you to select an electric vehicle? This could include hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or battery electric vehicles. ↩︎