Press release

Gen-Z'ers flock to driving as COVID-19 restrictions get stricter


Gen-Z’ers, the least car-crazed generation there’s ever been, are now making a U-turn on their usual propensity to eschew driving, in light of ongoing restrictions in the UK.

Auto Trader, the UK’s largest digital marketplace for new and used cars, has found a sharp year-on-year increase of 18-24 year olds looking at cars onsite.

During 1st June – 20th September, 15% of the platform’s audience were aged 18-24 – equating to a staggering 5.7million people – compared to just 6% in the same period last year. Over a quarter (27%) of Auto Trader’s current audience are aged 25-34 years old.

Over the past few years, Gen-Z had put off driving until their late 20s. However, the pandemic has changed this attitude with many deciding to take to the roads earlier to avoid public transport and reduce risk of spreading coronavirus to family and loved ones.

This increased desire to buy a car in light of the situation is mirrored in the number of people now wanting to learn how to drive.

RED, the largest driving school in the UK, has reported a huge surge in demand for driving lessons. New learner activity on its website is over 100% higher than the same time last year. In the past four weeks alone, RED had 43,664 enquiries, compared to 17,500 for the same period last year, showing a 250% increase.

The average age of those passing their driving test in the UK is 23.73, according to the Department for Transport (DfT) and DVLA (2019/2020).

Demand for particular types of cars is also changing in light of the ongoing situation, with smaller cars increasing in desirability for commuting and nipping about. Hatchbacks on Auto Trader recorded the largest average price growth last week, increasing 11.5% for the same period last year.

Auto Trader’s Rory Reid says: “The pandemic has shifted young people’s views of car ownership and gotten them to hit the road earlier than usual, as they look to rely less on public transport and try to minimise risk of spreading coronavirus.

“This is great for the car industry overall as it opens up a new pool of buyers, and of course benefits the drivers themselves as they get far more freedom when travelling. It’s a great time to buy a car, as there’s an enormous range of make/models available, including electric cars and hybrids – an important consideration for Gen-Z’ers who are looking for more environmentally friendly options.”

Ian McIntosh, RED’s CEO says: “Since driving lessons resumed in England on 4th July, we have seen an unprecedented numbers of new customers wishing to learn to drive with RED. I’m pleased to say that we now have more than 1,400 driving instructors on the roads across the UK and they are flat-out working to meet this new demand which has come from the backlog of created by lockdown and a new wave of learners who are keen to get behind the wheel in order to minimise their time spent on public transport.”

Last week’s announcement by Boris Johnson isn’t deterring the UK public overall from buying their next car as further restrictions don’t impact car dealerships. In fact, Auto Trader has found over 61% of car buyers said the government’s decision will not impact their decision to buy a car. The announcement has actually accelerated the purchase for some (4%).

The best car for new drivers, according to Auto Trader’s New Car Awards 2020, is the Mercedes-Benz A Class for its style, performance and affordability.

According to Auto Trader, the next top five best cars for new drivers are:

  • Ford Fiesta
  • VW Up
  • Seat Ibiza
  • Skoda CitiGo
  • Vauxhall Corsa

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For all media enquiries, please contact:

Rebecca Nassiri | | 07977132931


About Auto Trader

Auto Trader Group plc is the UK and Ireland's largest digital automotive marketplace. Auto Trader sits at the heart of the UK's vehicle buying process and its primary activity is to help vehicle retailers compete effectively on the marketplace in order to sell more vehicles, faster. Auto Trader listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2015 and is now a member of the FTSE 100 Index.

The marketplace brings together the largest and most engaged consumer audience. Auto Trader has over 90% consumer prompted brand awareness and attracts circa 50 million monthly cross platform visits each month, with over 80% of visits coming through mobile devices.

For more information, please visit

Auto Trader Group plc
Registered in England (Company number: 09439967)

Auto Trader Limited
Registered in England and Wales (Company number: 03909628)

Registered address:

1 Tony Wilson Place
M15 4FN
VAT number: GB 614 8918 20

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