Millennials are the butt of a thousand jokes and eye rolls. Stereotypes and articles alike say they’re whimsical, lazy or simply directionless, over-educated, under-employed, apathetic, demanding, idealistic, tech-obsessed, and, most importantly, that they’re not buying cars. But here are the facts: There are 74.5 million Millennials aged 18 to 341, making up about 25% of the US population. As a whole, they control over 1 trillion dollars in direct buying power, and 80% of them intend to purchase a car in the next five years.
Millennials are in the market for cars – they just had a delayed start. Millennials grew up, came of age, or graduated into the job market in the middle of the Great Recession. The “White Picket Fence American Dream” that many of their parents and grandparents inherited crumbled before their eyes – before they even had a chance to contribute to it. But despite this, and despite carrying more student debt than any other generation, they are more optimistic about the economy and their own personal finances than other generations.
Millennials will soon be the dominant force in the car-buying demographic. As more and more of them enter the market for vehicles, it will become increasingly important for dealerships to appeal to this generation of Empowered Consumers. Here are 5 facts about Millennial car shoppers that will help dealerships maximize their success with this crucial segment:
1. Millennials Shop Online – A Lot:
Millennials grew up in the Internet Age. Online research isn’t just a new trend; it’s how they were raised. 85% use the internet for online vehicle shopping, and 65% use their phone for car shopping. Selling to Millennials means appealing to them, and appealing to millennials means having an exceptional online presence and experience.
2. Social Media is Their Word of Mouth:
Everyone knows social media is important. Everyone knows word of mouth is essential. These two are one and the same for Millenninals – in fact, 43.5% of Millennials said they use social media to spread the word about products or service.
3. They’re Mobile
As ridiculous as it seems to older generations, 87% of Millennials have their phone by their side every second of every day. A dealership that wants to be ready to sell to the next generation of car shoppers has to invest in a mobile experience that isn’t just functional, but an experience that is comparable to being at your showroom.
4. They Want Control:
Millennials don’t mind shopping around for a dealership with an experience they want, and they’re not necessarily fans of the typical car buying experience. In fact, 87% said they feel the car-buying process should be more “fair.” If they don’t find it fair at one dealership, they might do some quick mobile research and take their business elsewhere. On-the-lot mobile users are 72% more likely to visit another dealership.
5. They Have High Expectations:
Millennials have high expectations. Already, 72% of automotive shoppers said they would visit dealerships more if the buying process were improved. Millennials amplify this trend – they have the least tolerance for mistakes, errors, or delays of any generation. Dealers who want to dominate the Millennial market have to make sure their customer experience is good enough to pass the standards of Millennials.
These five facts help paint a picture of Millennial car buyers – the generation that takes Empowered Consumer to the next level. Despite the condescension of older generations and many industries, Millennials are emerging as the future of the auto industry. They’ve battled their way through a tough youth in the Great Recession, and now they’re beginning buy cars. The dealers who will move into the future with this new audience are the ones who optimized their businesses to sell to them.