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Women drivers are set to transform the auto market in Saudi Arabia

September 2, 2018
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Women drivers are set to transform the auto market in Saudi Arabia

A quarter of women in Saudi Arabia have already applied for a driving license and of those who have not, 3 in 5 intend to apply

Among these new drivers, the majority (78%) plan to buy a car

The lifting of the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia is nothing less than a historical milestone. Close to a quarter (24%) of women have already applied for a driving license since the country started issuing licenses to female motorists in June 2018. Although the majority have not applied yet, 61% of those say they intend to apply for a driving license in the future.

For those who have not and do not intend to apply for a driving license, fear of driving and safety concerns are the top reasons for not wanting to do so. Despite the country recently launching a campaign to educate women on driving and create awareness about safety regulations, this still remains a barrier for women trying to get behind the wheel.

1 in 5 women do not think they would be a good driver

27% feel it is dangerous and fear car accidents, 24% do not know how to drive and 23% believe their husbands/ family members would not allow them to drive.

The lifting of the ban is not just a reason to rejoice for women but has opened a host of incremental opportunities within the auto market. Over three-quarters of women who intend to drive (78%) plan to buy a car. A majority (84%) say the decision of which car to buy rests in their hands. For those who are not the primary decision maker, almost half (48%) indicated their husbands will be making the decision and a fourth said their father-in-laws (25%) have the final say in the matter.

While carmakers in the region are gearing up to rev up sales with the influx of additional drivers, this is a valuable insight for brands who want to target potential women purchasers and align their advertising and marketing campaigns to target the key decision makers.

Although safety remains a dominant concern for females in the region, women who are embracing the opportunity seem most comfortable starting out with small cars. When women were asked which type of car they would like to drive, the largest proportion said small sized sedans (16%), followed by medium sized sedans (13%) and then medium SUVs (11%). Small cars are not just easy to park in high traffic areas but are also low on fuel consumption.

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