Millennial shopping habits are revolutionizing how goods are bought and sold in the 21st century, and the automotive industry is no different. From how they do research to what they look for in a car, Millennials do things differently; given that they now constitute the largest generation in North America, this is having a major impact on how the automotive market operates. Here are just three of the ways Millennials are changing how we shop for cars.
- Brand Is Not As Important As It Used To Be
One of the most striking elements of Millennial car shopping habits is their indifference to established automotive brands. Millennial shoppers are far more likely to try new brands and fully explore their options than previous generations, and this means that smaller companies have an unprecedented opportunity to reach out to new buyers via sophisticated digital marketing strategies, while established companies are forced to reconsider how they should approach a generation who are not loyal to the same brands as their parents.
- Social Networks Change How Shoppers Do Their Research
Perhaps the most significant difference between Millennials and previous generations is the role technology has played in their lives. Millennials came of age when the Internet, mobile phones, and other new tools were revolutionizing how North Americans live and work, and this has made them much more reliant on social media and their personal networks when it comes to making purchasing decisions.
For example, if a younger shopper wants to find a 2014 Honda Accord for sale they are far more likely to use their social networks and ask their friends for help. While word-of-mouth has always played a prominent role in the car industry, it is now easier than ever for interested buyers to learn from the experiences of their friends and peers, and it is also easier for them to come to a dealership or used car lot equipped with a list of questions. Evidence shows that where shoppers used to visit five dealerships on average before making their decision, they now visit one — all their preliminary research is done online. This greatly reduces the role floor staff make in selling new and used vehicles.
- Dealerships Are Just One Option Among Many
The dealership has long been the cornerstone of the automotive industry in the United States and Canada. Dealerships’ close relationships with car companies and massive presence in cities, towns, and villages throughout North America have made them central nodes through which car sales happen. While dealerships are still a major presence in the automotive market, there are signs that this may change: younger shoppers have shown a marked preference for online shopping, and much of the used car market has already migrated to online classified sites. There is a good chance this will happen with new vehicle sales as well before too long.
Every generation leaves its mark on the retail landscape, and as technology moves forward some industries are made obsolete while others take over the world. It is not surprising, therefore, that Millennials are shaking up how we think about the auto industry. While it has yet to be seen how exactly these changes will play out in the long run, it is clear that Millennials will continue to reshape the industry for years to come.