Millennials, Uber and Gen Z: What Do These Have to Do with Selling Cars?

If you’re scan­ning through busi­ness news media these days, you’re bound to find cov­er­age of the lifestyles of the Mil­len­ni­al gen­er­a­tion and rideshar­ing giant Uber. Mil­len­ni­als are the biggest demo­graph­ic cus­tomer seg­ment for Uber and GM’s recent invest­ment part­ner, Lyft.

Here’s the lat­est on these trends and how they look to be affect­ing the auto indus­try in the near future – plus the gen­er­a­tion that is fol­low­ing right behind Mil­len­ni­als……..

  • Mil­len­ni­als may enjoy Uber, Lyft, and car­shar­ing ser­vices like Zip­car and Car2Go, but they are start­ing to buy cars in big num­bers. They are get­ting their dri­vers licens­es lat­er than did Baby Boomers and Gen­er­a­tion Xers, but it is start­ing to hap­pen. Mil­len­ni­als’ share of the new car mar­ket jumped to 28% last year, accord­ing to a J.D. Pow­er and Asso­ciates study. In the country’s biggest car mar­ket, Cal­i­for­nia, Mil­len­ni­als out­paced boomers for the first time.
  • A new study by Kel­ley Blue Book con­cludes that while rideshar­ing and car­shar­ing ser­vices are grow­ing rapid­ly in trans­ac­tions, it doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean that new car sales will go away. These fast-grow­ing trans­porta­tion ser­vices may actu­al­ly present an oppor­tu­ni­ty for deal­ers and oth­ers in the auto indus­try, and it goes way beyond the Mil­len­ni­al gen­er­a­tion. “Ride- and car-shar­ing ser­vices are get­ting a lot of atten­tion these days, and we want­ed to bet­ter under­stand the cur­rent land­scape of these app-fueled plat­forms and how they may impact both con­sumers and the auto indus­try mov­ing for­ward,” said Karl Brauer, senior ana­lyst for Kel­ley Blue Book, in an analy­sis for the report.
  • Then there’s the next age demo­graph­ic, Gen­er­a­tion Z. Kel­ley Blue Book and Auto­Trad­er, which are both Cox Auto­mo­tive com­pa­nies, con­duct­ed a study of future car-shop­ping habits of Gen Z, who are now ages 0 to 17. The study includ­ed a sur­vey of 3,000 respon­dents, about 1,200 of which were 12 to 17 years old. That gen­er­a­tion cur­rent­ly makes up 23% of the pop­u­la­tion, and its pur­chas­ing pow­er is expect­ed to reach $3.2 tril­lion by 2020, Cox Auto­mo­tive said.
  • Top issues for Gen Z: As far as vehi­cle own­er­ship goes, there were three trends in the study that were note­wor­thy: they’re far more bud­get-con­scious than the Mil­len­ni­als were, pre­fer­ring to save mon­ey rather than spend it; more than 25% said own­ing an envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly vehi­cle is impor­tant, but it was the cost sav­ings that shaped their opin­ions with sav­ing mon­ey on gaso­line being impor­tant along with less­en­ing glob­al warm­ing;  43% of Gen Z respon­dents said they val­ue safe­ty fea­tures com­pared with 25% of Mil­len­ni­als sur­veyed when they were teens. More than half of the Gen Z respon­dents sup­port self-dri­ving vehi­cles, and near­ly half want most cars to dri­ve them­selves in the next decade.


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