The Changing Dynamic That is Millennial Car Buying

Millennials, those born between 1980 and the early 2000s, are changing the way we look at car buying.  And, as America’s largest generation to date, millennials make up a large portion of the driving population.

From those who are gearing up to take their driving test, and are diligently practicing the written portion of the DMV driving test, to those that have been on the roads for years, there is no denying that millennials are approaching car buying in a very different way than their parents.

Let’s take a look and see just how millennials are facing the car buying process and how their habits may change the way dealers sell cars to everyone.

1. There is a Delay

As with most things, millennials are delaying car purchases.  Student loan debt, higher rates of unemployment, and even the rise of companies such as Uber are placing car buying at the bottom of the priority list.

However, this doesn’t mean they are forgoing buying a car altogether.  Instead, they are simply waiting until they are financially prepared before doing so.

2. They are Looking Online

Millennials are known for being the technology driven generation.  After all, there isn’t a millennial out there that didn’t grow up in the digital world.

That said, millennials are demanding that car buying be easy to do online.  They are checking out social media networks, websites, and even YouTube videos to find the best deals, latest car trends, and are seeking answers to their questions and concerns.

Millennials don’t want to walk into a dealership and stroll the grounds for hours looking for the perfect car.  Rather, they want to prepare themselves ahead of time, walk in to a dealership, and get exactly what they found online to be available.

This means that even non-millennials can take advantage of this strategy and significantly reduce the time spent at a dealership buying a car.

3. They Want Technology Infused Cars

Millennials may be all about making prudent car buying decisions by waiting until they can afford something reasonable, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want the latest in technology either.

Millennials are all about being connected – navigation systems, satellite radios, Bluetooth technology, and mobile integration.  Even if it’s not the flashiest car on the lot.

4. They are Budget Conscious

Although mentioned above, its important to emphasize that millennials are one of the most money conscious generations when it comes to car buying.

Check it out:

  • 57% of millennials set a budget before making a car purchase
  • 83% state that an affordable monthly payment is an important consideration
  • 32% will consider leasing if it’s a more affordable option

Since millennials are part of the trending subscription era, it is not unusual for them to consider things like monthly payments over total vehicle cost.  In fact, they just want to ensure their monthly payments fit in with their monthly expenses, regardless of the overall cost in the end.

In the end, millennials know what they want when it comes to the car buying process.  And, since they make up such a large population of car buyers, especially as they get older and more financially secure, their habits are sure to start shaping how car buying happens for all of us.


Photo credit: W.K Photography on Flickr. CC-BY-2.0.

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