Will consumers consume differently in an electrified world?

Will consumers consume differently in an electrified world?

The shift to EVs and the broader electrification of various industries will have an impact on consumer behaviour and consumption patterns.

Summary: The transition to a more electrified world will likely result in changes in behaviour by consumers. The extent and pace of any changes is likely to vary across regions, depending on factors like infrastructure development, government policies, and consumer preferences. We look at three broad areas as a starting point: transportation, the home and how we pay for things.

Why this is important: Understanding how consumer behaviour and consumption patterns may change will allow for appropriate planning of infrastructure and investment. It is not simply about 'dropping in a new engine'.

The big theme: Decarbonising our energy system is going to be one of our most material sustainability challenges. Along with new technologies such as electric vehicles, and renewable electricity generation, we are going to need to scale up new supply chains. How we consume energy is also likely to change.



The details


Same as it ever was?

In transitioning to a more sustainable world, there is sometimes the temptation to look at an individual component of a system and replace it with something 'more sustainable' and carry on. Look at cars and other ground vehicles. The focus has been on replacing the high-carbon emitting internal combustion engine (ICE) with the low-carbon / no carbon emitting electric motor to produce an electric vehicle (EV). However, that brings some challenges. In 2021 the IEA estimated that the production of an EV uses approximately six times more minerals than a conventional car. So if we replaced all of the ICE vehicles with EVs, whilst we may reduce emissions from the engine in operation, the resource requirements (including energy requirements for mining the additional minerals) would impact other areas of sustainability. So can things stay the same?

The shift to EVs and the broader electrification of various industries will have an impact on consumer behaviour and consumption patterns. The extent and pace of any changes is likely to vary across regions, depending on factors like infrastructure development, government policies, and consumer preferences. Let's look at three broad areas as a starting point:

  1. Transportation
  2. In the home
  3. How we pay for things ('X-as-a-service')

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