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How do electric vehicle owners shop?

Charging stations draw shoppers who own EVs.

A new survey reveals that electric vehicle owners have some distinct preferences when it comes to where and why they shop.

Six-in-10 (61%) surveyed EV owners say they are more likely to shop somewhere with charging stations, while 27% say charging station availability does not typically influence their shopping location decisions, according to "Charging Ahead in the Era of Electric Vehicles," a study combining survey insights and purchase data from verified EV owners from Numerator, 

Surveyed EV owners are nearly twice as likely to shop as other consumers at Ikea (1.8x) or Whole Foods (1.7x), both of which are leaders in providing EV charging stations. Sprouts Farmers Market, Trader Joe’s, Costco and Albertsons are also popular among surveyed EV owners, which Numerator says is likely due to preferences for natural/organic and retailer regionality.

Surveyed urban and rural EV owners spend 3% and 13% more at gas and convenience stores than their non-electric counterparts, with urban shoppers generally more reliant on small-format convenience stores. 

Overall, surveyed EV owners spend 6% less in the gas and convenience channel compared to the average consumer, but Numerator analysis indicates the dip is entirely driven by suburban EV owners, who spend 18% less than other suburban drivers.

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Other findings from Numerator’s survey of EV owners include:

  • More than four-in-10 (42%) EV owners are Gen Z’ers or Millennials (vs. 30% of all vehicle owners); 44% are Black, Hispanic, or Asian (vs. 31%); and 44% come from high-income households (vs. 30%).
  • Three-in-10 EV owners reside in the Pacific U.S., with an additional 8% in the Mountain region. Close to half (46%) of EV owners reside in urban settings.
  • Nearly half (46%) of EV owners say they own a Tesla, followed by Chevy (13%), Ford (11%), Hyundai/Kia (11%), Nissan (7%) and BMW (7%).
  • Three-quarters (76%) of EV owners charge their vehicles at home, followed by other public charging stations (45%), their work / office (34%), retail locations (25%) and gas stations (16%).
  • When deciding where to charge their EV, most owners select the nearest charging location available (55%), while others take into account free or discounted charging options (42%), charging speed (41%), or proximity to other amenities like stores and restaurants (32%).

Numerator’s Electric Vehicle Survey was fielded to 769 verified EV owners in April 2024. All demographic and purchase data is based on a larger panel of over 4,000 self-identified EV owners. EV ownership is one of 2,500 demographic, psychographic and media consumption attributes that panelists elect to share with Numerator.

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