Research - 09.05.2023 - 09:00 

“Swiss Mobility Monitor 2023”: Mobility behaviour from baby boomers to Gen Z

Key drivers for the expansion of electromobility in Switzerland are the nationwide availability of charging stations and generational mobility preferences. This is the conclusion of a representative study by the Universities of Lucerne and St.Gallen, which examined mobility behaviour in Switzerland.
Woman charging her electro car at special parking, alternative energy and eco concept
UNILU and HSG: Key drivers for the expansion of electromobility in Switzerland are the nationwide availability of charging stations and generational mobility preferences.

How does the population in Switzerland get around? The second edition of the “Swiss Mobility Monitor” sheds light on mobility behaviour across different generations and reveals changes compared to the previous year. Particular emphasis is placed on generation-specific mobility preferences and the expansion of new forms of mobility. The study, under the scientific direction of Prof. Dr Reto Hofstetter of the University of Lucerne and Prof. Dr Andreas Herrmann of the University of St.Gallen (HSG), was realised in cooperation with Zurich Insurance Company and AutoScout24 (SMG).

Swiss population has strong attachment to their own car

In Switzerland, people prefer to own their own car. On average, the population is less open to new forms of use, such as leasing, subscription models or car sharing. However, there are differences in preferences between the individual generations: Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012) feels a significantly greater sense of ownership than all other generations when using cars in the car sharing and subscription model. Gen Z drivers consequently perceive use rather than ownership less as a loss of control. The study shows that safety and control over a vehicle are valued differently by each generation. 

Although Generation Z also prefers their own car to leased cars, cars used on a subscription basis or even car-sharing cars, a change in personal identification with the means of transport used is evident. When it comes to their own values and the associated social identity, Gen Z attaches greater importance to alternative forms of vehicle use than the other generations. 

Mobility increases after coronavirus protection measures lifted

The lifting of the COVID-19 protection measures in spring 2022 is also reflected in mobility patterns. In the 2022 survey, conducted before the protective measures were lifted, just under 33% of respondents said they went to work or training five days a week. In 2023, this percentage increased to nearly 38%. Only 3% work exclusively from home in 2023, down from 6% in 2022. 

Changes can also be observed in the means of transport used to commute to work. While 35% of respondents still walked to work some of the time in 2022, only 29% did so in 2023. The winners of this change are, in particular, public transport such as trains and buses. With an increase of 6% each, over one third of the working population used these collective means of transport. 

Powerful charging stations boost acceptance of electric cars

The share of cars with electric drives has risen from 3% to 5% within a year. Nevertheless, almost three quarters of those surveyed have so far not used electromobility. In addition to a charging infrastructure that is perceived to be inadequate in private and public spaces, the poor range is a particular problem when switching to an electric car. Lower acquisition costs are less important when it comes to switching to an electric car than the desire for more charging options and greater range.

One-pager with selected study results (in German)

Background to the study

The Swiss Mobility Monitor is based on a representative online survey of 1052 people over the age of 18 living in Switzerland. The survey was conducted by LINK between 30 January and 9 February 2023. The Swiss Mobility Monitor is part of the Swiss Consumer Studies at the Institute of Marketing and Analytics (IMA) at the University of Lucerne. With the Swiss Consumer Studies, the IMA publishes studies on current topics on digital consumer behaviour and digital marketing at regular intervals.

On around 70 pages, the “Swiss Mobility Monitor” offers detailed insights into the development of mobility innovations and greater acceptance among the Swiss population. The study report can be ordered on the Swiss Consumer Studies website. Selected results are available for download as a one-pager.

Image: Adobe Stock / EdNurg