Article

Charging Ahead in the Era of Electric Vehicles (EVs)

As we accelerate into the future of clean energy and green transportation, electric vehicles (EVs) are shifting from niche to norm. For many, the allure of owning an electric vehicle extends beyond environmental benefits, influencing more than just trips to the gas station. Learn more about EV owners—who they are, where they live, how they shop, and what they value—in our latest article, which combines verified purchase data from thousands of EV owners with fresh survey insights from hundreds of these same drivers.

Owner’s Manual: Demographics of EV Owners

Despite significant growth in the past decade, electric vehicle ownership remains relatively rare in the United States. According to Numerator Insights data, only 3.5% of US households report owning an electric vehicle, a small fraction of the 92.5% that own a vehicle overall. Compared to the average vehicle owner, EV owners are younger, more diverse, and higher-income—42% are Gen Z’ers or Millennials, 44% are Black, Hispanic or Asian, and another 44% come from high-income households.

Electric vehicle owners are also more likely to come from larger, multi-car households. Three-fourths (77%) of EV households have two or more vehicles, compared to 68% of all households with vehicles. In our recent survey of EV households, 30% of respondents said they rarely or never personally drive the EV in their household, instead opting for another vehicle or for alternative forms of transportation. Individuals living in a household with an electric vehicle are twice as likely to say they regularly walk or bike to get around, and they’re four times more likely to take public transit like trains or buses.

Shifting Gears: Why Drivers Go Electric

Cost savings on fuel (74%) and maintenance (51%) are the top reasons EV owners cited for choosing an electric vehicle, while environmental concern came in third at 48%. The driving force behind EV ownership also varies by the brand of electric vehicle someone owns. Tesla owners, who make up nearly half (46%) of the EV market according to our survey, are more likely to cite vehicle looks and features (+18 points compared to non-Tesla EV owners). They also show a greater interest in new technologies (+14 points) and the brand itself (+10 points).

All Roads Lead West: Geography of EV Ownership

Electric Vehicle ownership is highly concentrated in the Western United States—nearly a third of EV owners (30%) reside in the Pacific US, with an additional 8% in the Mountain region. Ownership also varies significantly by urbanicity, with nearly half of EV owners (46%) residing in urban settings.

Most EV owners charge their vehicles at home, but a quarter also charge at work or retail locations, and a third at other public charging stations. The Northeastern United States, which saw the largest increase in public charging options in 2023 according to the US Department of Energy, has the largest percent of EV owners opting for out-of-home charging, followed by the Western US, the nationwide leader in public charging ports.

When deciding where to charge their EV, most owners select the nearest charging location available (55%), while others take into account free or discounted charging options (42%), charging speed (41%), or proximity to other amenities like stores and restaurants (32%).

Purchase Drivers: Shopping Habits of EV Owners

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of EV owners say they’re somewhat or significantly more likely to shop somewhere with charging stations, while a quarter (27%) say charging station availability doesn’t typically influence their shopping location decisions. EV owners are nearly twice as likely to shop at IKEA (1.8x) or Whole Foods (1.7x) compared to the average consumer—both retailers are known leaders in the EV charging game. Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Costco and Albertsons are also more popular among EV owners, a testament to natural/organic preferences and retailer regionality.

While their cars may run on clean energy, EV owners remain reliant on gas & convenience retailers. Overall, EV owners spend 6% less in the gas & convenience channel compared to the average vehicle owner, but this dip is entirely driven by suburban EV owners, who spend 18% less than other suburban drivers. Urban and rural EV owners, on the other hand, spend 3% and 13% more at gas & convenience stores than their non-electric counterparts. Rural households with electric vehicles are more likely than other rural drivers to own three or more vehicles, while urban shoppers are generally more reliant on small-format convenience stores for everyday shopping.

Voltage to Values: Core Values of EV Owners

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is important to EV owners, who are more likely to describe themselves as highly attentive to the corporate values behind the products they buy. EV owners report higher levels of concern around renewable energy, carbon footprints, transparent and ethical sourcing, and natural/organic products. Beyond CSR, EV owners value innovation and technological advancements, and they are often on the cutting edge of adopting new technologies.

Insights to Fuel the Future

As consumers embrace a new era of electric vehicles, understanding the potential business implications becomes increasingly important for brands and retailers. Numerator collects over 2,500 custom demographic, psychographic and behavioral attributes for all of the consumers in our panel, including information on electric vehicle ownership. Combined with verified, omnichannel purchase data, we offer an unparalleled understanding of EV owners and their distinct shopping habits. For more information on how your business may be impacted by the EV evolution, reach out to your Numerator consultant or get in touch with our team.

*Numerator’s Electric Vehicle Survey was fielded to 769 EV Owners in April 2024. All demographic and purchase data is based on a larger group of over 4,000 EV Owners.

Explore more recommended content.

What’s the Deal with PopTart Buyers? Consumer Purchasing & Consumption Habits
Article
What’s the Deal with PopTart Buyers? Consumer Purchasing & Consumption Habits
Unlock the secrets of pop tart consumers: Who loves them, how they're enjoyed, and why nostalgia plays a big role in ...
Learn More
Bettergoods: An early read on Walmart’s latest private brand
Article
Bettergoods: An early read on Walmart’s latest private brand
Walmart's largest food launch in 20 years: bettergoods. See who the new private label brands shopper is, its performa...
Learn More
Increase Shelf Space: Winning Product Line Review Strategies
Article
Increase Shelf Space: Winning Product Line Review Strategies
Maximize your brand's potential with our comprehensive product line review solutions, spotlighting data-driven strate...
Learn More

Grow more with modern insights.

Get your free demo today!

Our industry-leading panel is bigger and better than ever — going beyond omnichannel to give brands and retailers the insights they need to grow in ever-changing markets.