Woman being shown a car in a showroom

The phasing out journey

It’s well-known that by 2030 petrol and diesel cars will be phased out and by 2035 and only battery-operated electrical vehicles (EVs) will be available to purchase from new. However, that still leaves a 12-year journey for those yet to adopt electric vehicles as a new car option and much can happen in that time (think Brexit, Covid-19 and the cost of living crisis).

For several years we have been monitoring which consumer segments have been buying electric vehicles, which segments were early adopters and who is buying today, as well as identifying those potentially next to make an EV purchasing decision.

When assessing EV purchasing trends, we use Experian’s Mosaic segmentation, a lifestyle and demographic solution splitting the UK into 15 groups and 66 types. Our Mosaic segments are linked to the DVLA registration for both new and used cars with purchasing patterns identified on registration and fuel type.

A look at influencing factors for EV purchasing

In this blog, we’ll explore five of the key Mosaic groups that sit across the EV purchasing journey including: City Prosperity, Domestic Success, Rural Reality, Aspiring Homemakers and Country Living. But before we delve into who is buying EVs, we should also look to understand some of the influencing factors and the questions they pose when understanding EV purchasing decisions. Assessing Mosaic segments alongside wider market insights, it would appear to come down to three fundamental points:

  1. Affordability

    Electric vehicles are an expensive purchase, even more so in today’s cost of living crisis. So, who could afford the new cars without significant impact on their budget? But also, how do the new range of mainstream, more affordable, cars from the likes of Kia and Hyundai impact the buying cycle?

  2. Range

    Earlier EVs were somewhat restricted by the range of the battery, spawning a new “range anxiety” phrase but newer EVs are coping with 200 -300 miles on a single charge, opening up a completely new regional demographic.

  3. Is home-charging possible?

    There’s been fair degree of scepticism around the accessibility of on-street charge points. Outside of pure “city living” segments, we tend to see those with driveways, combined with the affordability element, dominating current EV sales.

Segmental trends in EV purchasing to date

Bearing the influencing factors in mind, let’s now look at five key segments within current and future EV purchasing.

City Prosperity

Early adopters of EVs sit within Experian’s “City Prosperity” Mosaic segment, which consists of high-status city dwellers living in central locations and pursuing careers with high rewards. Sub-types of this segment purchase up to 30% of new cars as EVs.

This segment tick the box in terms of affordability and tax breaks have also made EVs highly desirable. Furthermore, it is less likely that this segment would have any significant concerns around potential range restrictions. However, we’ve seen that in recent quarters the upward purchasing trend has somewhat stalled. Whilst today, the “City Prosperity” segment still buy the most electric vehicles as a percentage of new car sales, this group may be reaching the saturation point.

The most common brand within the high-status city dwellers was BMW, unsurprising, but as mentioned, this is still a key audience for any brand to conquer.

Country Living

Well off home-owners in rural locations fall into the Mosaic “Country Living” segment. It’s this segment, who may own a driveway and have a greater level of affordability, who are now also purchasing EVs, albeit with a slightly more cautious approach to spending.

Within this segment, range plays a much bigger role in the purchasing decision which is why newer models (with increased range) have become a much more usable daily proposition.
Potential winners in this market? Currently Volkswagen do well but without a doubt Kia are making significant inroads to this segment.

Domestic Success

The “Domestic Success” segment, which includes thriving families who are busy bringing up children and following careers, also have an increased likelihood of owning a driveway and a decent level of affordability.

All the segments currently buying EVs would be described as reasonably affluent. But outside of the affordability factor and the ability park and charge, these segments are often also multi-car households and are now turning to EVs as a second car option. This is demonstrated by the clear winner in this segment, that being Nissan and its Leaf model proving extremely popular to those living busy multi-car lifestyles.

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A look forward at EV purchasing

Whilst the influencing factors of affordability, range and driveway ownership will still be dominant, there may not be complete mass adoption where these three factors cannot be considered or met.

As an aside, this does raise the interesting point that population density currently does not equal electric vehicle density and thus the near future placement of public charge points should be considered carefully. Yes, in years ahead we may need significantly more on-street charge points within areas of high density, but as a near term roll out we should consider where EV’s are today, whilst also being mindful of the affordability element. With today’s cost of living crisis, where is it that households without driveways will both want and/or be able to afford electric vehicles?

So who do we think is next in line to grow their adoption of EVs? Two key segments stand out both being a slightly less affluent version of the “Country Living” and “Domestic Success” segments.

Rural Reality

First is a Mosaic segment called “Rural Reality”. These householders are living in less expensive homes within village communities. Here we see those living away from the suburbs, probably with a driveway, where range is still important but perhaps with a little less disposable income and in this case the recent development of less expensive brands is opening up this segment.

Aspiring Homemakers

The same could be said for second proposed segment called “Aspiring Homemakers”. These younger households are settling down in housing priced within their means. Once again, we see the potential to have a driveway, range is key for busy family living but as above, they are also a segment with less financial means.

These two segments are important not least because we see them as the next big purchasing segments but there are also more of them in the UK compared to most other segments. We are in essence, heading towards the mass market – although not quite there yet. As a final note all indications of their current brand purchasing points to MG being the key brand for this market.

How would we summarise the latest position? Clearly, we can track those who were first in line. We know those buying today but critically we still see three influencing factors when buying an EV and the progress of those is determining who is moving along the purchasing journey.


At Experian, we will continue to monitor the adoption of EVs by Mosaic segment, and trends and patterns will likely change over time. If you’d like to discuss how these trends may be developing then get in touch, then we’d be delighted to spend some time discussing it with you.