Cadillac’s futuristic flying car from Netbase Quid on Vimeo.

Electric vehicles aren’t just a curiosity anymore but a growing juggernaut that’s eating up market share within the larger automotive market. It’s an exciting space to watch for sure, and here we’ll look at using market intelligence for tracking and predicting the future of EV.

Specifically, we’ll focus on:

  • Today’s EV market outlook
  • EV’s rising share of the automotive space
  • EV trends and future pacing

And here are a few stats to help get the ball rolling:

  • Global EV market size came in at $162.34B in 2019 and is forecast to top $802B by 2027.
  • Auto sales in the U.S. were down 15% in 2020 overall, while EV manufacturer Tesla saw sales increase by 9%.
  • Despite waning sales volume in the auto industry, global sales of electric vehicles saw a boom, closing out 2020 up by 43%.

With that, let’s look at the avenues that market intelligence can lead us through to gain insight into this emerging trend.

7 step guide market research

The EV Market Today

Electric vehicle sales have been trending upwards every year since 2011 and surpassed two million units sold for the first time in 2019. And in doing so, the EV market topped $162B. Interestingly, as auto sales declined in 2020, EVs continued their upward spiral, topping 3.2 million units, representing a 43% increase over the previous year.


Regionally, Europe, China and the United States are the markets with the most traction. Europe overtook EV-loving China in 2020 concerning sales volume, but that king of the hill status will not be easy to keep as Tesla prepares to enter China. Europe ended up 137% with close to 1.4M units while China’s market returned 12% growth with 1.33M vehicles sold.

Chinese EV sales saw a strong recovery late in the year, fueled in part by strong returns from relative electric newcomers Nio, Li Auto and Xpeng. On the other hand, the U.S. market ended last year with a comparatively modest growth of 4%.

EV hotspots within Europe to pay attention to this year are Norway, the Netherlands and Germany, which incidentally saw eye-watering 2020 EV growth of 254% over 2019, surpassing the entire U.S market by itself.

Social media listening reveals the high sentiment driving the growth.


Phrases like look forward to, robust success and fantastic news dominate the EV conversation and highlight the positivity behind growing EV sales amidst a slumping automotive industry.

EV the Exception as Auto Sales Shrink 

Primarily driven by the pandemic’s ripple effects, the global auto industry finished 2020 down 15% year over year. Due to uncertainty, many consumers found themselves unwilling to overextend their finances with a large purchase, while newly home-bound workers simply found themselves driving much less.


Latin America and Europe saw sales shrink the most at 27% and 24%, respectively. Canada’s auto sales lagged 20%, followed by the U.S. market at 15%. China contracted only 6%. And what really stings is that global auto sales aren’t expected to reach pre-pandemic levels again until 2023. 

7 step guide market research

However, those intent on purchasing new automobiles are increasingly turning their attention towards electric vehicles, as are young investors. Increased efficiency and a reduced environmental footprint are two of the big motivators. As you can see, the technology and green living interests stand out from the crowd.


At this point in electric vehicles’ evolution, every major car manufacturer has skin in the game. And lesser-known companies like the Chinese manufacturer Nio are coming after their slice of the EV pie.

Finishing up 9% last year, Tesla dominates the online conversation this month by a long shot. But innovation is the name of the game, and other areas of interest are generating discussion online as well. These include details about electric truck manufacturer Rivian’s latest funding round that brought in $2.65B, and GM’s buzz about their EV offerings, innovations and their flying EV concept vehicle introduced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.


EV Trends & Future Pacing

Electric vehicles navigated the pandemic better than expected, so 2021 will be an exciting year to gain valuable market intelligence in the space. And since the EV market is driven heavily by technological innovations, keeping tabs on patents offers clues to the direction things are headed.


Companies involved in the space are literally reinventing the wheel, as evidenced by the 1825 patents granted over the past three years. Diving in here is an excellent way for brands to stay ahead of the public conversation by catching interesting breakthroughs before they hit the news.

And as conversations are playing out in the news, you can up your market intelligence game using the news vs. social dashboard within NetBase Enterprise to compare and contrast both sides of the coin simultaneously through a variety of consumer insight analytics.


And since consumers are well acquainted with pandemic life, keeping tabs on a consumer journey analysis is the smart thing to do going forward. Doing so will establish a baseline to catch shifts in consumer buying behavior and adjust to meet emerging wants and needs. Here’s a snippet of what our consumer journey dashboard looks like using the EV market topic.


The electric vehicle industry endured a rocky road last year but came out the other side on the up and up. The near future looks bright in the space, and robust market research built with savvy social listening tools will keep your brand keen on innovation – and ahead of the other guys.

Are your social media analytic tools helping your brand spot emerging trends and develop strategy? Be sure to reach out for a demo, and we’ll get you plugged into the best social media listening tools for an electric 2021.

7 step guide market research

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