To understand the early sentiment of Saudi residents and the likely outcome of the recently issued royal decree that allows women in KSA to drive cars, 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 highlights that the sentiment is overall positive. Males support the change and would like the female members of their household to drive.
Fueling females’ ambitions
As a result, 82 percent of the women are contemplating on getting a license and this is likely to fuel their ambition. The move is expected to uplift the sentiments of females. The biggest emotions expressed by women were related to the feeling that society was progressing the right way (61 percent), a sense of empowerment (55 percent) and enhanced career opportunities (46 percent).
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.
To alter automotive landscape
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 and drivers that will affect female purchase decisions and tailor their offerings accordingly to capitalize 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,” added Henriques.
On the path of self-independence
While going to work was the key reason to drive (45 percent) dropping children (39 percent) was the other expressed reason. Interestingly, about 17 percent 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 percent) 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 percent) 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.
Surge in demand for new vehicles
This decree will result in a significant demand surge for new vehicles with some 60 percent of the residents intending to buy a car in the next three years and 38 percent planning this purchase in the next year. Non-premium, small and medium car segments – with an average budget of SAR63,000 – will be more in demand, with 71 percent 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 SAR110,000 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 percent were still undecided on whether to purchase or give an existing vehicle to the woman. Among those who were decided, 57 percent plan to buy a new car for women and a fourth likely to buy a new vehicle for themselves.