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Millennials Aren’t Car Buyers… or Are They?

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Article Highlights:

  • Are you meeting the needs of the largest purchasing group?
  • Dealerships that can adapt will be the ones who see the next generation.

For the past several years, word on the street has been Millennials aren’t car buyers. They don’t want to buy a car, and most importantly they can’t afford to buy a car.

But that is finally starting to change. Today, Millennials range between 16 – 36 years old. The older half of Millennial buyers are in prime position to purchase a vehicle. Some are finally starting to climb out of their college debt. Others have been in a stable career for several years and may be starting a family. Although the younger half have not reached the buying cycle yet, 73% said they intend to buy a car in coming years according to a recent AutoTrader Study.

The problem isn’t if Millennials will buy cars. It’s when. The industry is projecting 40% of all new vehicles sold within the next 10 years will be to Millennials. Does your shopping and buying experience catch their attention? Does your dealership meet their needs online and in your store?

Here are a few things you need to know about the Millennial car buyer:

They are individuals

Millennials crave individualism in everything they do, more so than any other generation. They want to impress their peers and show off their lifestyle. For the automotive industry, this means vehicle personalization will be a major draw for this generation. They don’t want the same Ford Fusion their co-worker has. They want it to be unique to them.

They love technology

The tech-savvy nature of Millennials will play two major roles in the automotive industry; first with vehicles. Millennials will be drawn to vehicles that offer technology to fit their needs. Items like navigation, satellite radio, and Bluetooth will be key items Millennials look for.

The second role will be the buying experience. Millennials want to search online and they demand automation during their buying process. In addition to that, Millennials have been conditioned to expect things quickly. Although they do a lot of research, when the time to buy does occur, they don’t want to spend their entire day at the dealership.

They prefer a different type of marketing

Millennials have become wary of marketing and advertising. They rely more heavily on social media, review sites, and word-of-mouth from family and friends. They want authentic information about a brand before making a decision. Because of this shift, consumer experience is a huge factor in their purchase decision. If a family member of friend has a bad experience at your store, their entire social network will hear about it.

Conclusion

Millennials are the car buyer of today. Dealerships that adapt to their needs and buying preferences will be the ones who see the next generation of car buyers come through their doors. What are you doing to prepare for Millennial buyers?

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Director, Brand Marketing, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ashley is Director of Marketing Communications for Reynolds and Reynolds. In her 10 years with Reynolds, she has managed the marketing strategy for several key Reynolds solutions and branding initiatives. Today, she leads the U.S. and Canadian marketing teams to drive brand awareness, product penetration, and content strategy for Reynolds and other key brands within the Reynolds Retail Management System.

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