SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Korea Bizwire) — The average age of people buying imported vehicles is getting older, according to industry data Friday.
Last year’s statistics from the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAID) showed 34.6 percent of the buyers of the 166,271 foreign cars sold in the country were in their 30s.
People in their 40s were the next largest group at 30.7 percent, followed by 50s (18.6 percent) and 60s (7.7 percent). Young purchasers in their 20s accounted for 6.4 percent.
Comparisons with prior years indicate that the age of import car buyers is rising. The number for the 30s, for example, increased from 38 percent in 2015 to 38.2 percent in 2016 but fell to 35.9 percent in 2017 before dropping further last year.
Consumers in their 20s had led the pack since 10 years ago, but their proportion has been going down since 2015, when it was as high as 8 percent.
Buyers in their 40s grew from 28.3 percent in 2015 to 29.4 percent in 2016 and to 30.2 percent in 2017. The trend was repeated for 50-somethings, rising from 16.5 percent in 2016 to 17.7 percent in 2017.
The more elderly group, people in their 60s, was exceptionally visible in the market for foreign badges. Their proportion rose 36 percent in a two-year period to outnumber buyers in their 20s last year.
By car type, younger drivers in their 30s preferred BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes and Toyotas, in that order. Those in their 40s and 50s tended to pick Mercedes-Benzes over BMWs.
The preference has been changing, however, according to the data.
Statistics in 2017 showed 34.7 percent of purchases for BMWs and 22.8 percent for Mercedes-Benzes for buyers in their 20s, a gap of 11.9 percentage points. Last year, the corresponding numbers were 29.5 percent and 21.1 percent for a narrower gap of 8.4 percentage points.
For the 30s group, the gap also shrank from 4.9 percentage points in 2017 to 1.8 percentage points last year.
“Sales of BMWs last year were generally affected by the engines that caught fire,” a KAIDA official said. “The diversified lineup in the C-class and under by Mercedes-Benz also likely had an impact.”