South Koreans in their 40s who used to comprise the bulk of car buyers are no longer the largest consumer group, according to the latest data released Aug. 1.
Now those in their 50s are the top car buyers, according to data from Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association. They bought 143,542 vehicles, 19.7 percent of the total cars sold in the first six months.
The data also showed that the proportion of new car registration by people in their 30s and 40s fell to a record low in the first half of the year. The two age groups bought a total of 238,567 vehicles during the period, declining 13.7 percent from a year ago. They accounted for only 34.1 percent in the January-June period, falling gradually from 41 percent in the same period in 2016.
“The younger people are buying fewer cars as more of them use car-sharing services,” said a KAMA official.
This trend was reflected in the record-high purchases by businesses including car-sharing platforms. New car purchases by businesses took up 28.3 percent of the total car sales.
According to startup Epikar, a vehicle subscription platform, its main customers are males in their 30s and 40s.
KAMA also attributed the trend to a prolonged economic downturn.
“As the economy worsens, disposable income for this generation has also decreased,” said the KAMA official.
The figures for new car sales fell in all age groups except for the 60s group. They bought more cars than last year with the number increasing to 82,336 units from 79,987 a year ago.
“The retired baby boomers (who were born between 1955 and 1963) are buying new cars that can meet their various demands,” the KAMA official said.
In the first half of this year, 889,588 vehicles were sold here, down 4.3 percent from a year ago. The number of SUV and eco-friendly car sales rose 4.3 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively.
By brands, most European cars saw a double-digit decline in sales, with the sales of German brands plunging 34.2 percent and that from Britain by 25.3 percent. Japanese brands saw an 18 percent increase.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)