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Millennials want to drive. Approximately 35% of Millennials (ages 18-34) say they intend to purchase a new or used vehicle in the next 12 months and that exceeds the national average of 25% for all consumers. And the good news for car retailers is that this new group of young auto intenders is expected to grow, debunking myths about this generation’s relationship with cars and driving.
Millennials Outpace Gen X in New Car Buying
Short-term rental programs and technological innovations such as ride sharing apps have some auto dealers worried about the future of car ownership, especially among Millennials. However, even though younger consumers have new transportation options, it still doesn’t overshadow the fact that the majority of them need and want to have their own ride. In 2014 Millennials surpassed Generation Y in new car purchases for the first time, making it the second largest cohort of new-vehicle buyers behind Baby Boomers.
Millennials Would Rather be Without Social Media and Texting than Their Cars
This generation will choose their car before their phones/social media. Millennials view both their car and smart phone as essential for social connections, unlike Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. However, 92% agree a smart phone doesn't replace their need for a car. When asked to choose, 76% said they'd prefer ditching social media for a day than not being able to use their car. 72% would rather give up texting for a week versus giving up their car for that same week.
Millennials Spend Longer Shopping for the Right Car
The good news for car retailers is that 70% of this new group of young car buyers know little about what vehicle they intend to purchase and will spend on average two hours longer shopping for a car than vehicle buyers in general. As a result auto dealerships have ample opportunity to influence these young buyers and make sure their vehicle offerings are included in the set of vehicles Millennial’s are considering.
For Millennials, cars represent freedom and a way to explore new places and as a means to accomplish tasks. Cars are more than just a tool or piece of technology for this generation, cars are a way to stand out among their peers. Millennials enjoy driving and want to feel happy and excited to drive their car, whether it's around town or on a fun-filled road trip with friends.
Sources: J.D. Power and Associates Power Information Network, July 2014, MTV “Millennials Have Drive” Research Study 2015, AutoTrader 2014 Automotive Buyer Influence Study conducted in partnership with IHS Automotive.