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SPOTLIGHT

82pc of Saudi women intend to get driving licence, says study

DUBAI, October 10, 2017

There is a lot of positivity surrounding the recent royal decree issued which allows women in Saudi Arabia to drive cars, with 82 per cent of women likely to get their licence, a study showed.

To understand the early sentiment of Saudi residents and the likely outcome of the recently issued royal decree, Kantar TNS – one of the largest global research agencies– conducted a study amongst Saudi residents in partnership with online panel providers Kantar MobiworkX and Borderless Access.
 
The study revealed that males support the change and would like the female members of their household to drive. The biggest emotions expressed by women were related to the feeling that society was progressing the right way (61 per cent), a sense of empowerment (55 per cent) and enhanced career opportunities (46 per cent).
 
With more women on the move, their career prospects will dramatically improve and the disposable income of households will rise. It is expected to change the very fabric of Saudi society and impact the economy in the long run.  
 
Commenting on the findings and its implications for marketers, Neal Henriques, regional automotive director for Kantar, said: “This historic decision by the Saudi government changes the automotive landscape in the kingdom and will present long term economic benefits beyond the automotive industry. Marketers who want to be ahead of the game need to gain a deep understanding of the needs of drivers that will affect female purchase decisions and tailor their offerings accordingly to capitalise on the new opportunity. Our initial research also indicates that the path to purchase will be far from uniform, thereby giving informed marketers an edge over the competition”.
 
While going to work was the key reason to drive (45 per cent) dropping children (39 per cent) was the other expressed reason. Interestingly, about 17 per cent of the intending drivers expected to shop more and indulge in more leisure activities. Combining this with the increase in female disposable income, a flip to the retail, entertainment and F&B sector is anticipated in the near future.
 
An overwhelming majority of intending drivers (92 per cent) are expected to reduce their reliance on taxis and services such as Uber as a result. Women have also come out strongly in favor of reducing their reliance on personal drivers with over three fourths (80 per cent) of intending drivers expected to reduce their dependency. As a result, we are expecting a significant impact on the usage of public transport (taxi/Uber) and a declining demand for drivers.
 
This decree will result in a significant demand surge for new vehicles with some 60 per cent of the residents intending to buy a car in the next three years and 38 per cent planning this purchase in the next year. Non-premium, small and medium car segments – with an average budget of SR63,000 ($16,7890.8) – will be more in demand, with 71 per cent intending to buy in that range.
 
However, the market for premium vehicles will grow as well and slightly more than a tenth are expected to pay over SR110,000 ($29,315.6) for these cars. There is a high degree of consistency in our findings between males and females, indicating the staunch support of males to the initiative. With males, likely to continue to play a key role in the decision of vehicle make/model, 44 per cent were still undecided on whether to purchase or give an existing vehicle to the woman. Among those who were decided, 57 per cent plan to buy a new car for women and a fourth likely to buy a new vehicle for themselves.
 
Currently the top five brands that women aspire to buy are: Toyota, Hyundai, Ford and Nissan with BMW being the aspirational brand in the premium segment.
 
Overall, significant economic benefits will accrue to manufacturers, insurers and allied services. OEMs that quickly adapt their lineup to deliver to this audience will capitalise the most on this change. Dealers over time, may need to revamp their sales and after sales process to cater to the needs to female buyers and relook at their communication strategies keeping this audience in mind.
 
The reduction in drivers over time will affect the demographic profile at the lower end of the spectrum and impact categories largely dependent on them such as CSDs and snacks. Differentiation will drive survival in the tech enabled transportation business. Uber and Careem will need to differentiate themselves to garner a larger share of a declining market and retain relevance among its female patrons, e.g. offering female Uber drivers.
 
Commenting on the changes, Nissan Middle East CMO Fadi Ghosn said: “We expect to see growth in the medium passenger cars and medium SUV segment as female drivers seek a combination of space, practicality and convenience. There might also be vehicle shifts within the household with existing vehicles being given to family members and new ones purchased. Finally, along with increased new car sales, we expect to see growth in used car transactions - in what looks set to be a dynamic market.” - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Cars | Saudi | licence | Women | drive |

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