Acquiring the Driving Generation: 8 important stats about millennial new car buyers

Within two years, 40% of new car purchases will be made by millennials – a generation of early adopters and natives of the digital world.

As competition for market share in the new car market remains fierce, engaging this lucrative audience is vital for advertisers and agencies.

So, who are they and how do we reach them?

For starters, let’s clarify who we’re talking about. Millennials – or Generation Y, as they are also known – refers to people born between 1980 and 1996 (give or take two or three years depending on your source). They follow Generation X (1965-1976) and baby boomers (1946-1964) and precede Generate Z (1997 to present day).

The Driving Generation

Millennials are becoming known in the industry as ‘the driving generation’.

According to a study by MTV, millennials drive 72% more miles than baby boomers, and 18% more than Gen X. Spending longer on the road is perhaps why millennials are reported to have little interest in ‘flashy’ cars, but instead are in market for reliability and practicality.

Compared to baby boomers, millennials tend to take longer to decide on what car to buy, an average of 15.7 vs 16.9 weeks. The Gen Y/millennial consumer also considers a wider range of vehicles during their research. This suggests that their decision is malleable and can therefore be influenced, if approached at the right time during their buying journey, to ultimately find the car that is right for them.

Despite the lengthier period in market, millennials are keen for convenience. This generation grew up in a time when convenience was emphasised, whether that be via increased digitalisation, technological advances or innovation – simplification and convenience is a consistent theme.

What do your millennial consumers expect?

Millennials have grown up in a world of choice-paralysis. Numerous products from numerous companies and numerous ways of paying for them.

Ultimately, because of their wide range of options, it is essential to guide your millennial consumer along the right path and ensure that the process is as simple, easy and accessible as possible.

Quality of service and products are of high importance to millennial consumers. With the rapid speed of online connectivity, news can travel fast. Thus, meaning that despite how long it may have taken to build it up, brand reputation can be crushed quickly, and perhaps unjustly, due to poor customer experience during the buying phase.

The typical millennial car buyer expects a transparent approach to business proceedings. Clarity of information requests and honesty is important to consumers during a high-stake, high-expense purchase, such as buying a car. The consumer expects a good standard of customer service, and failing that, a quick response to minimise disappointment and rectify any issues.

The growth of digitalisation

Third-party sites are the most commonly-used platforms for automotive shopping, with 78% of shoppers using them as part of their search.

Furthermore, 88% of millennials take to the internet to research their car purchase. Exploring the reliability and practicality of cars is much more accessible and easier when done at the click of a mouse, with the immediate response of a chatbot.

The growth of digitalisation and connectivity has also allowed social media platforms and innovative technology to form an empowered generation of new customers. Millennials are demanding cars that are stylish and practical, with adequate tech features that will help them to stay connected.

This audience has grown up in an age where technology continues to improve at a rapid rate. They are, as a result, quick to embrace digital innovation, giving a distinct advantage to brands that lead the way.

Ultimately, there are big opportunities for advertisers and agencies that can meet millennials’ technological expectations and provide a credible, transparent and quality service.

Communicating with millennials

With 59% of millennials following a brand on social media before purchasing a product, and 81% viewing their twitter account daily, it’s a sure indicator that social media is one of the most effective platforms for targeting millennials. It therefore comes as no surprise that millennials are twice more likely as any other generation to turn to social, rather than phone or email, when communicating with a brand.

It’s clear that millennials prefer to engage online, whether that’s via social media or digital messengers, such as chatbots. When it comes to chatbots, 60% of millennials have used them, 70% of those report positive experiences, and of the millennials who have not used them, more than half say they are interested in using them. Chatbots link seamlessly with millennials’ expectations, bringing instant gratification, conversational engagement, digital connectivity, and convenience.

Through pioneering the use of innovative tech and intelligent targeting through popular digital channels, we can target the consumer with the right message at the right time. By adapting the wording and approach based on the consumer, website they are visiting and product of interest, we can tap into the buying journey of the millennial car buyer.

8 stats you need to know about millennial new car buyers

  1. By 2020, 40% of new car buyers will be millennials (Brandwatch)
  2. Millennials drive 72% more than Baby Boomers, and 18% more than Gen X (Advantage Tec)
  3. Millennials tend to take longer to decide what car to buy, an average of 16.9 vs 15.7 weeks compared to Baby Boomers (V12 Data)
  4. 88% of millennials use the internet during the research and shopping process when buying a car (Brandwatch)
  5. 56% of millennials say they would rather clean their homes than negotiate with a car dealer (V12 Data)
  6. 59% of millennials follow a brand on social media before purchasing a product (SproutSocial)
  7. 81% of millennials view their twitter account daily (SproutSocial)
  8. 60% of millennials have used chatbots, 70% of those report positive experiences, and of the millennials who have not used them, more than half say they are interested in using them. (Forbes)

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