Smarter car shoppers (millennials) ‘healthy’ for industry, says Edmunds.com

If millennials are right – that they’re smarter car shoppers than previous generations – car dealers have their work cut out for them.

But that’s good news, according to an executive with Edmunds.com.

“Since a smart car buyer is a quality car buyer, it all points to an optimistic and healthy future for the auto industry,” said Avi Steinlauf, CEO of Edmunds.com, a car-shopping website.

Photo: imediaconnection.com

Photo: imediaconnection.com
Smarter car shoppers?

Millennials also see value in what dealers can bring to the car-buying process, Edmunds said.

Edmunds.com reached those conclusions after combining responses from a January survey involving 1,500 adults ages 18 and older and a March survey of 1,000 adults ages 18-34. Generation Y adults, millennials, were born from 1977-94, making them 21 to 38 years old now.

Remember when some said that generation wasn’t going to be interested in buying cars?

Now, it appears, millennials not only are interested in purchasing cars, but three-quarters of those surveyed by Edmunds believe they are better car shoppers than the older generation thanks to their “prolific” use of mobile technology during the car-buying process.

“But while millennials have a propensity toward using mobile devices during the car-shopping experience, the study also pointed out that this group still heavily values the in-dealership experience,” according to Edmunds. “The study found that 64 percent of millennials said that they prefer face-to-face interaction with dealers as opposed to remote communications … debunking the myth that millennials are making all of their car-buying decisions on their phones.”

Among other findings of the Edmunds.com surveys:

  • Millennials skew toward used cars when they buy, with used comprising 78 percent of the group’s car purchases compared to 68 percent of adults age 35 and older.
  • Four of every five millennials, a whopping 80 percent, want their smartphone features integrated into their car, and 62 percent said they would pay more for a WiFi-connected vehicle.
  • Nearly three-quarters of millennials (72 percent) said they have considered buying a hybrid or electric vehicle, and 66 percent said they would consider buying a self-driving vehicle.
  • But technology features ranked behind price, fuel economy and performance in the age group.
  • About 70 percent of recent millennial car buyers said they contacted a dealer via text message during the shopping process, compared to just 43 percent of all other adults.

“Millennials today are informed car buyers,” said Steinlauf. “They’re making the most out of the volume of information available at their fingertips, and it’s helping them to make a smarter car purchase.”

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