Older Australians are driving more, study shows

Elizabeth Barry 1 February 2016

The excitement of getting your licence seems to be lost on young Aussies, while older Australians are keeping theirs longer.

volkswagon beetle rear view Australians over the age of 80 are more likely to drive than those between the ages of 18 and 24, new research from Roy Morgan shows.

Data collected from the last eight years reveals 2015 is the first time the number of older Australians has surpassed those in the youngest age bracket, but the numbers have been steadily going up during this period.

In 2007, 59% of those 80+ were reported as drivers, and this has increased to 69% in 2015. This is compared to only a 4% increase (to 72% in 2015) for those in the 18 to 24-year-old bracket in the same period.

Interestingly, the occurrence is not restricted to either ends of the age spectrum.

Those in the 75 to 79-year-old age bracket are now 7% more likely to drive than 25 to 29-year-olds (85% compared to 78%), and those in the 65 to 69-year-old age bracket and the 70 to 74-year-old age bracket have surpassed the 30 to 34-year-old age bracket, with 91% and 87% compared to 85%.

Australia's car sales

The demographics of Australians car buyers is also changing. There are nearly 2.3 million Australians looking to buy a car in the next four years, and a number of them are older Australians, with that number increasing since 2007.

The number of Australians aged 50 and over who intended to buy a car within the next four years has increased by 7%, while those aged 65 and over has increased by 9%.

Out of the number of Australians looking to purchase a vehicle in the next four years, two equally represented groups (both 30%) are aged between 35 and 49 and 50 and 64.

While the scales have been tipping towards older Australians driving and away from supposedly apathetic younger Australians, only time will tell if the trend will continue, and if marketing will catch up for car and finance companies to change strategies to match the trend.

Statistics show that Australians are increasingly choosing larger vehicles when they do purchase new cars.

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