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Gen Y vs. Gen X: The Changes in Car Buying Trends

It’s no longer just about getting from A to B – it’s about character, fuel efficiency and performance on the road. So where does it all start?

What do you get when you mix tech skills, value-conscious consumers and new brands? Millennial car buying. People who were born between the years of 1980 and 2000 are living differently in comparison to older generations. Millennials, tech-savvy kids who were born in the digital age, were brought up with a firm grip on their individuality and practical thinking skills. They want a car that not only functions well, but also looks beautiful in an urban setting, and with student debt at an all-time high, they look for affordability.

Eco-friendly with advanced technology features are just some of the key components that seem to be necessities of the millennial car buying culture, and it’s no longer just about getting from A to B – it’s about character, fuel efficiency and performance on the road. So where does it all start?

1) Research

Unlike the generations before them who researched cars at the dealership, millennials use their tech skills to do heavy research online. The aesthetic and functionality of a dealership’s website is key when it comes to pleasing millennials, and research shows that they spend approximately 17.6 hours online before they even step foot on the lot. Reading reviews, educating themselves on the logistics of the car and having the freedom, time and space to make the right decision without any pressure starts online and is integral to them.

2) Word of Mouth

This pre-car buying tactic is a method that millennials utilize excessively, and for good reason. Word of mouth, both online and from friends and family, is usually the initial introduction of cars to millennials, and although reports show that this generation is in no rush to buy a car right now, 80 per cent of millennials say that they will be car owners within the next five years. Before millennials go to a dealership they want to have already touched, tested and have their questions answered about the car they’re about to buy.

3) Aesthetic

Image-conscious millennials are more likely to purchase a vehicle that reflects their personality. They opt for smaller cars that are low in price and easy to operate. Digital features in new car models are incredibly important for the millennial car buyer: mobile connectivity, navigational systems and safety technology are significant elements that previous generations wouldn’t prioritize. Millennials desire luxury and efficiency when it comes to car buying, and they’re willing to pay more for products that represent their image.

Millennials, who range between the ages of 18-34 years old, spend roughly four full days a month online and have the highest engagement on social media in comparison to any other generation. They want and need a car that is going to stand out. They want to invest in a specific brand of car that is going to be affordable, technologically advanced, have an aesthetic that’s going to capture their individuality, and deliver high-performance when it comes to value and efficiency.

But hey, can we blame them?


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