MILLENNIAL$ DRIVING THE CAR MARKETPLACE?!?

We all know the stories, Millennials (MLLNNL$) are mooches and maybe even borrowers but NEVER real buyers/owners. RIGHT? Their primary source of info is social media and the absolute last thing they want to do is be in real face to face contact with an auto dealer. RIGHT? As a matter of fact they would like Amazon.com to deliver their cars if they EVER bought one. RIGHT? In short, at this time MLLNNL$ are a very, very poor target for auto sellers. These 18yr± to 36yr± olders must 1st become more realistic about the auto market place, gain some maturity and experience about being possible car purchasers and THEN we can meaningfully discuss this market. On the other side there are those auto makers and more particularly auto dealers who must NEVER forget that Boomers (not MLLNNL$) brought them to the dance and these post war babies are still the most important and engaged segment of the auto market! RIGHT?

Talking about reality, in 2010 MLLNNL$ accounted for 18% of ALL new U$ auto sales. By 2014 it was 1 in 4± (BloombergBiz/ JD Power & Assoc). And, w/i the last few mos it has been reported that by 2020 MLLNNL$ will be 40% of the NEW CAR marketplace (NBC). WOW! With that all said, usa.streetblog.org reveals that Boomers possess 38% of the new car market with Elders accounting for 10%. We also know that in 2014 78% of ALL MLLNNL car buys were used (Edmunds.com) and that MLLNNLS are more open to less well known brands (given the features) than other generations. (The consummate question is how do auto makers & sellers appropriately meet MLLNNL needs and develop brand loyalists? Good Luck!)

MLLNNL$ want to buy NOT lease cars. NOT surprisingly, they want their cars to be an extension of their personalities and their accomplishments. They also want reasonable affordability at point of purchase and for upkeep expenditures, too. They treasure new tech highly, gizmos highly, mpg highly and they desire longer term warranties. MLLNNL$ want their car’s tech to be connected with their mobile tech. They expect a higher level of connectivity and function than other generations. MLLNNL$ prefer smaller and cheaper cars and being as environmentally conscious as they are, they demand fuel efficient vehicles.

As for the process of auto selection and buying, MLLNNL$ value and want to meet dealers face to face and to take test drives as well, themselves NOT as part as a video game experience. When they finally hit the showroom, generally speaking, THEY ARE PREPARED! According to Autotrader/NBC, MLLNNL$ spend over 17 hrs researching vehicle types, brands, feature, etc… (About 80% of that 13 2/3 hrs is spent online) 95% of them use the Internet to car shop. They DO NOT find newspapers or TV helpful. Increasingly, they use their mobile devices to help them shop. For the record, few MLLNNL$ are influenced by social media as to car choices b/c they want to have as much “hands on” experience as they can get. The TOP 5 features desired by the MLLNNL$ in a vehicle are Bluetooth, Cell Phone Integration, an MP3 Player, a Navigation System and Satellite Radio. It’s known that these young adults’ TOP 5 brands for purchase consideration are Honda, Chevy, Toyota, Ford & Nissan (Autotrader). Having said that, we know Chevy is “pushing” its Cruze as a GLOBAL MLLNNL BRAND (Good Luck and we hope Ms. Barra et al have done their homework including the fact that 70% of MLLNNL$ [vs 43% of all buyers] contacted a dealer through texting, [Edmunds.com]). Good Luck! 1/3 of MLLNNL$ also use their mobiles to discover local dealer contact info (vs ¼ of ALL buyers). Good Luck! (Beyond our cited sources, we have also used autonews.com and Millennialbranding.com)

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About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or bernacmd@udmercy.edu. Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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