Next Generation Showroom Shoppers: What You Need to Know about Millennials

Millennial vehicle shoppers (18 to 32 years old) comprise a huge market of new car buyers. They are more informed than previous generations. They are different from any other category of buyers.. Your dealership challenge is to inform, seduce and reward this new population of shoppers with exactly want they want.

Image is everything

Last summer’s study completed by AutoTrader (part of an online survey by Harris Interactive of 1,657 millennials) entitled “The Next Generation Car Buyer” reveals that millennials want a new car that reflects their sense of style and innovation. Brands that met the demands of survey participants were often pricey imports like BMW, Audi, Lexus and Mercedes. These cars were seen to have the image most millennials want to portray. Young, upwardly mobile degree-holding professionals often seek these brands as status symbols. Along with bigger salaries and moving out of cubicles and into offices with doors, moving up to a luxurious European import is a way of keeping score — of letting friends and coworkers know that they’ve “made it.”

Unlike older buyers, millennials aren’t bound by “made in America” patriotism. Many realize that today’s domestic brands are filled with imported parts and assemblies. To them, most cars represent an amalgam of nationalities.

Practicality can’t be ignored

Not all millennials place a high value on pricey brands and status; some want style on a budget. And with gas prices often at $4.00 per gallon, MPG becomes an important factor for those with lower incomes and carrying the burden of student loan debt. In terms of pure styling, some sporty Japanese imports were favored among those with an eye for practicality. These brands included Honda, Toyota, Kia, Nissan and Hyundai. Some sporty domestic compacts offered by Chevy and Ford also fell into this category. Most buyers will accept these cars as a substitute for European imports as long as performance and handling provide a strong connection with the road.

Millennials in lower income brackets and higher debt loads are all about MPG, comfort and safety. Needless to say, there are exceptions on both ends of the new car buyer spectrum.

The credit profile of Millennials

Much has been said about the profile of Millennials. The graphic from Equifax paints a picture of just how credit worthy many Millennials are:


Infotainment is de rigueur

Over 70 percent of millennials indicated that they wanted a new car with the latest infotainment extras. Some automakers have actually turned to Silicon Valley to integrate digital tech into their cars to lure millennials into showrooms. Cars are becoming an extension of the tech-intensive world today’s young buyers live in. They want their cars to connect with their smartphones, iPods, iPads, GPSs and apps that are borne of these technologies — all displayed on bigger, interactive dash-mounted display screens. Good sound systems with lots of speakers were also important to prospective buyers.

Want to attract millennials to your showroom? Show them style, MPG and emerging technology that reflect who they are and where they’re going – all at a price that fits their budget and lifestyle.

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Image source: Flickr

About Jenn Reid

Jenn joined Equifax Automotive Services from the auto lending industry, where she spent the past six years focused on both the manufacturer and indirect lending channels. She brings over 13 years of automotive experience, working for both dealerships and automotive finance companies, along with a degree in Automotive Marketing and Management from Northwood University. Jenn’s background in both the lender and dealer space allows her to understand the needs of the automotive market, and ensures our solutions are meeting client needs.