Millennials, the adult generation in their 20s and early 30s right now, are shopping for cars in ways that aren't quite the same as the strategies of their parents and those a few years older than them. Millennials are known for a few traits, including individualism, being hyper-connected, and optimism about their futures, according to the report, "The Next Generation Car Buyer." Despite coming of age in during or around the Great Recession, Millennials believe in possibility and are interested in self-improvement and getting the best that life has to offer, according to Psychology Today.
Many Millennials are considered "digital natives," or people who grew up knowing about the Internet and other technologies, so they integrate technology into their lives very naturally and expect it to be a part of almost all decisions. These factors influence automotive shoppers, so there are a few things to keep in mind when marketing to the Millennial demographic.
A Shift in Favorite Features
Millennials are more likely, according to Inc., to want low carbon footprint vehicles. Past sales might have focused on horsepower and torque, but now the miles-per-gallon gas consumption really matters. Design still matters, with Millennials favoring the sleek designs and technological advances; of all car shoppers, they are most open to automation and computerized aspects of the car.
Above all, most Millennials are looking for affordable cars; many are taking out longer-term loans than past generations to maximize their current cash flow. Millennials are taking out car loans at a 21% higher rate than Gen Xers at their same age, so affordability options matter for Millennials.
Less Brand Loyalty, More Mobile Shopping
Given how easy it is to shop on one's cell phone now, Millennials are less likely than past generations to find a brand they like and stick with it. Millennials have taken up smartphone usage more than any other generation, with 98% of them possessing smartphones, according to Nielsen.
This may mean losing more "regular" customers, but it also means that a much wider range of Millennial shoppers are likely to look over your site even if they've never tried a car of your brand before. Having an easy to load and easy to navigate mobile site is very influential on the car-buying process for Millennials; with so many options at their fingertips, a buggy or slow site will quickly be ignored. As an Autotrader study discovered, Millennials are looking to do serious research before they commit to a brand or a particular car.
Reliance on Word-of-Mouth and Internet Reviews
Strangely, despite having so much information at their fingertips, Millennials really value direction from reviews and word-of-mouth. They want to know that other people have had a good experience at a dealership or with the maintenance record on the car they are considering. 24% of those surveyed, according to a report on social media buying habits created for eBay Motors, consider online reviews the single most helpful factor in car shopping.
Thus, it is imperative that automotive dealers are engaging with the sites where people review their experiences and their cars, to make sure that they are aware of any complaints and are making strides to show their value in that arena.
Want to reach the Millennial demographic and make sure you have high conversion rates from your marketing efforts? Visit our site to learn more about how to close the gap and gain more Millennial customers.
For more information about millennial car buying trends, please take a look at The Automotive Professionals Guide to Millennials.