Millennials are growing in number and their car buying preferences are vastly different than baby boomers or Gen X. There are so many conflicting reports and studies, so I recently read up on the subject and came across several interesting pieces of information that I thought I’d share in this blog:
- Millennials drive more than any other generation- While much research focuses on how millennials like to avoid driving a vehicle, the truth is that millennials drive 72% more miles than baby boomers and 18% more than Gen-X. In addition, 80% of millennials still use a car as their primary method of transportation.
- Millennials want their vehicle to be completely customized- Millennials are proponents of individualism -- they want their vehicles to match their personality and wish to create their own interior and exterior color scheme, custom tires, and other custom materials so that they feel their vehicle is their own.
- Millennials love technology- Today’s world is extremely tech savvy and millennials want their cars to reflect that. When millennials shop for a vehicle they want it to contain features such as blind spot detection, night vision, backup cameras, self-healing paint, collision avoidance systems, XM radio, and other bells and whistles that create a great technological experience.
- Millennials support autonomous driving- While 80 percent of millennials possess vehicles, a study by IHS Automotive found that 88 percent of millennials fear “other motorists” and support autonomous driving technologies. Plenty of OEMS, such as BMW and Tesla, understand this, and have built driver-free features into their automobiles.
- Millennials look for more practical vehicles - Sure, everyone loves a sports car, but many millennials desire something a little more practical. While compact and midsize vehicles are still the top models desired by millennials, full-size SUVs continue to grow in consideration.
- Car buying is increasingly social - Seven out of ten millennials have what’s called a fear of missing out (FOMO). Their friends share pictures of new cars on social media, and they want it too. Many dealerships now attract millennials through slick Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter campaigns.
- It’s all about the experience - The test drive isn’t what it used to be. Millennials want complete control of the experience. Dealerships increasingly allow consumers to take the vehicle home for a day to really get a feel for it. Not only that, some dealerships have created a digital test drive -- a customizable experience for millennials that helps them feel more at ease with the process.
These points certainly offer some food for thought. There are 92 million millennials, the largest generation in US history, and they aren’t exactly going with the flow. The automotive industry has been a part of American society for most of the last century. Will millennials change the roadways as we know them? We are certainly in for some interesting times ahead!