How to Get Millennials into Your Dealership: Used Cars

While the Millennial/Gen Y demo­graph­ic is best known for putting off get­ting their dri­vers’ licens­es and vis­it­ing new vehi­cle deal­er­ships, there’s a mar­ket trend to pay atten­tion to: their used vehi­cle pur­chas­es.

Accord­ing to JD Power’s Pow­er Infor­ma­tion Net­work (PIN), so far this year, Mil­len­ni­als made up 35% of used-vehi­cle sales. That com­pares with the next gen­er­a­tion up, Gen X, com­ing in at 26% of these sales and Baby Boomers account­ing for 32% of used vehi­cle sales in the first half of this year.

Used vehi­cle sales to this gen­er­a­tion has increased sub­stan­tial­ly in the past five years – from 23% of used vehi­cle sales in 2009, 26% in 2010, 31% in 2011 and 2012, to 32% in 2012 and 35% in 2014. By com­par­i­son, sta­tis­tics on Gen X has stayed con­sis­tent­ly in the 24% to 26% range.

As for new vehi­cle sales, PIN says that Mil­len­ni­als / Gen Y account­ed for 26% of new vehi­cles retail sales so far this year; Gen X came in at 24% of sales and Baby Boomers had the largest share at 38%. Used vehi­cles seem to be a very strong chan­nel for get­ting younger con­sumers to dri­ve their very first cars.

Accord­ing to new research from Auto­Trad­er, young shop­pers, often sad­dled with debt, are look­ing for small­er, cheap­er vehi­cles. They’re far more like­ly to do their research online, often with their smart­phones.

“You hear a lot that this gen­er­a­tion doesn’t care about cars,” said Isabelle Helms, AutoTrader’s vice pres­i­dent of research. “They do care about cars.” How­ev­er, keep in mind that they “are doing these things lat­er. They’re delay­ing them,” Helms said.

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