Impact of gender on auto aftermarket

Women are having a significant impact on the Saudi auto aftermarket but in Russia, auto marketing is still targeting men.

Back in 2017, OATS wrote about the likely benefit to the Saudi auto market of women being allowed to drive . And so it has come to pass. The latest boom is evident from the 30,000 new licences being issued between February and March 2019 with a near doubling of female drivers on the kingdom's roads.

Saudi Arabia's female population is projected to reach 15m in 2020, 20% of which are projected to drive based on their age and income qualification. The total number of female drivers in Saudi Arabia is projected to reach 3.0m in 2020. In comparison, male drivers are set to increase from 9m in 2017 to 9.5m in 2020.

“With the significant growth of female drivers, automotive OEMs and car dealers are seeking to capitalise on the opportunity and capture a significant chunk of the new customer segment”, said Vishal Sanghavi, Head of Automotive Practice at Aranca. “For example, Hyundai has positioned its Kona SUV as a women-centric model.

The insurance industry is seeing the benefits as are car sales which were $7.6bn in 2018 and are now expected to reach $10.15bn by 2023. Other sectors which are likely to gain from the boom are tyres, lubricants and batteries.

Last summer, the Russian Ministry of Labour and Social Protection revised a list of professions in which the participation of women was banned or restricted. Inherited from the former Soviet Union, these barriers had prevented women working in 456 jobs in more than 30 different sectors. From 2021, the restrictions on transport professions will be removed allowing women to become professional truck and bus drivers. 

With an estimated gender pay gap of 26%, the Russian road transport sector hopes the change will make transport networks and supply chains more efficient.

Despite the lifting of restrictions on women in Russia, Total has had to have a male-focus in its marketing campaign. With 84% of drivers in Russia being men, handling engine oil changes is still their domain, says Lube Report.  Anastasia Makarkina, head of marketing at Total Vostok, says that Russian males aged 30-55 best understand the product and are most likely to buy it.

With most of its vehicles being older passenger cars, it is usually men who try to extend the life of their cars to avoid the high costs of new vehicles.