Women are catching up to men on buying cars -- but gender still plays a huge role in what they pay

Picture: Getty Images

When it comes to spending habits, men and women are still vastly different, with very different priorities for their money.

When it comes to saving for the future, research shows that women focus more on lifestyle goals and being comfortable enough to spend without guilt. For men, making money is often about “making it big”, and being able to afford what they want.

When it comes to the bigger purchases in life, the trend continues.

In Australia, buying a car is a rite of passage, but one men and women approach very differently.

Women tend to be more worried about safety and reliability, whereas men are more image conscious, focusing on style and technology.

It’s no surprise that 93.6% of Ferrari purchases are made by men.

In the first quarter of this year, data from finance provider Savvy shows the average amount of finance women sought for a car purchase was $23,494 compared to $29,387 for men.

Savvy CEO Bill Tsouvalas said even though there’s a clear difference between men and women, his focus is on ensuring each customer gets a personalised service so that their new car suits their budget and needs.

“Everyone has different priorities when it comes to purchasing a car. Looks, fuel economy, leg room, even gadgets can influence someone’s decision.

“The car someone buys is an important part of Australian culture and personal identity. No two people ever base their decision to buy a car on one factor alone; it’s all in the eye of the beholder.

“We’re proud to help all Australians find a car loan that is not only affordable, but as individual as they are.”

New car buying intentions were up in August, with new research from Roy Morgan showing almost 2.5 million Australians intend to purchase a new car in the next four years.

This is close to the 15-year high recorded in February 2017, as the following chart shows:

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2002 – August 2017, 3 month moving average. Quarterly sample n= 13,320 Australians 14+.

Short term purchase intent is rising too, with 679,000 Australians intending to buy a new car in the next 12 months.

Norman Morris, Roy Morgan Industry communications director, said one major driver of increased buying intentions is the current higher level of consumer confidence.

“Over the last three months, there has been considerable optimism in the new car market, as shown by the steady increase in buying intentions for the next four years and strong confidence among new car buyers.”

At the moment, about 7% of Australian households don’t own a car, according to data form the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

When it comes time to purchase a car, global data shows one in five men know the exact vehicle they want, which is more than double the average number of women who know for certain.

This also contributes to levels of shopping confidence, with 58% of men confident when car buying compared to 38% of women.

A recent Edmunds study found age also affects confidence between men and women. When asked if they believed women were equal to or better than men at car shopping, 64% of millennial women and 54% of millennial men surveyed agreed. The gap for baby boomers was much greater.

Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analytics, said changing gender roles is starting to impact on the purchase of big ticket items.

“The world where millennials grew up was very different than that of older generations. For many, both parents worked and financial decisions were made equally, which is reflected in their different attitudes about gender roles in car shopping,” Caldwell said.

This doesn’t stop sexism coming into play in the car buying process, with data showing that, on average, women are offered retail prices at least $200 higher than men for the same vehicle.

This doesn’t seem like much against the average car cost of $27,994, but with 13.8 million cars on the road in Australia, it adds to the price women are paying for the same new car.

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