Report on classic car sector indicates industry must prevent decline by understanding changing trends and consumer diversity

A report focused on the classic and collector car industry, a sector worth £18.3bn to the UK economy and estimated to employ approximately 113,000 people*, shows the industry needs to attract and entice a new demographic of classic car fan to secure its prosperous future or risk decline.

Titled the Indicator Report, the intelligence has been compiled by UK classic and collector car insurance specialists Footman James. Aiming to be a ‘state of the nation’ report, focused wholly on the classic and enthusiast vehicle sector, it shows that there’s work to be done with making the industry a more inclusive and diverse space, and in turn to secure its growth and relevance.

Studies within the report highlight that younger audiences show an interest in buying classic cars, with nearly half (49 per cent) of Generation Z-aged respondents – i.e. those who will pass their test this decade, or have done recently – those under 25-years old, would consider owning a classic vehicle in the future. For millennials (those aged between 26 and 41-years old), that number slips to 35 per cent of respondents saying they would consider owning a classic car in the future. However, if businesses offered shared ownership to millennials, 51 per cent of this age group said that they would consider joint ownership, thus showcasing an area for improvement and growth.

Footman James 2022 Indicator Report

Diversity and inclusion are areas that Footman James’ Indicator Report has researched, showcasing that the sector is more than just a money-making industry, but that it also breeds communities. The review highlights the lockdown-induced REVS community and the long-standing PistonHeads forums, and how they have grown and reacted to times and trends. However, Footman James urges community and club managers to look further than traditional classic car fans and open clubs to more people to attract new audiences and breed new classic car fans and owners.

• A 50+ page report focused on the classic and collector car industry launched today
• The report aims to indicate improvement areas for the industry to secure its growth and relevance in the future
• Indicator report suggests sector needs to be inclusive to younger and more diverse fans
• Report shows just nine per cent of Footman James’ clients are female, 91 per cent male
• 49 per cent of Generation Z audience, i.e. those who will pass their driving test this decade (people aged under 25), or have done recently, would consider buying a classic car
• 51 per cent of millennials polled would consider joint ownership of a classic vehicle
• Features statistics including ownership data from age, location, values to usage and reporting on the predicted future of classic and collector cars
• Conducted by Footman James, one of the leading classic vehicle insurers offering a range of policies for classic and specialist vehicles

A large goal for growth, inclusivity and diversity should be with female classic car fans, according to the Indicator Report. Despite research suggesting more women are owning classic cars than ever before, just nine per cent of Footman James’ clients are female. But with 22 per cent of women reporting they would consider owning a classic car in the future, and 19 per cent not sure, i.e. could be convinced, it shows a business case to appeal to these female buyers.

Managing Director of Footman James, David Bond said: “Change is good for our community. In many ways, as this report highlights, we have changed and evolved as a classic car sector, using technology and communities in times of need. But, if we look around, it’s clear to see that our industry isn’t doing enough to change quickly enough, especially around the gender and age of enthusiasts.

Speaking to our clients and indeed the public about classic and collector cars, as a community, we’re deemed as old school as our cars, and we must listen to this criticism and become more attractive, inclusive and welcoming to the new era of the classic vehicle community. After all, without change, we wouldn’t have grown the classic and enthusiast vehicle sector this far.”

The Indicator Report is highlighted in its importance in line with a recent (Late 2020) economical study commissioned and published by HERO-ERA (Historic Endurance Rally Organisation – Endurance Rally Association). The findings of this year-long study have found that with an annual turnover of £18.3bn, and an annual Gross Value Add contribution to the UK economy of £9bn, the classic car industry as a whole is worth the same as the entire UK Arts and Creative sectors, or all UK Ports. More than just a hobby, classic cars have proven to be big business for the UK*.

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