Young people aren’t driving differently. They’re shopping differently. And that’s a good thing.
The automotive industry is increasingly focused on the car-buying habits of the “Millennial” generation: car buyers born after 1980. Dealers have often been led to think that this set isn’t as interested in vehicles as prior generations. They have more of an emotional connection with consumer electronics than with cars – so the theory goes – and they favor car sharing over car owning. And since they increasingly live in cities, they prefer riding a bike or using public transportation. This line of thinking has taken hold, becoming part of the “conventional wisdom” in the industry.
But what if it’s wrong?
At this year’s meeting of the National Automotive Dealers Association in San Francisco, a group of executives from MTV presented a new reality: one in which “Millennials love their cars for the same reasons they love their phones.”
The study involved 3,610 Millennials between the ages of 18 and 34, and revealed that this generation may be more interested in cars than their older counterparts. For example, 70 percent of Millennials enjoyed driving versus 66 percent of Generation Xers and 58 percent of Baby Boomers. The study also revealed that 76 percent of Millennials would give up social media for a day rather than their car, while a whopping 72 percent would give up texting for a week rather than be without their car.
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