Unlike Millennials, Generation Z Seems to Love Cars

Wed, 4/4/2018 - 2:30 pm by Kirsten Rincon

Generation ZOver the last couple of years, there has been a strong sense of fear among automakers that Millennials will never express the same enthusiasm about cars as Baby Boomers, and will eventually stop buying cars.

Those fears are justified to a large extent, with Millennials increasingly opting for ride-sharing, public transport, or other alternative modes of transportation, while showing reduced interest in owning a car.

But, a new study now shines a ray of hope upon the auto industry, suggesting that the newest generation consumers does not intend to follow in the footsteps of Millennials and will very likely be much more interested in owning and driving cars.

Generation Z More Enthusiastic About Driving

A new study conducted by Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader asked members of the next generation potential car buyers – Generation Z, who are essentially those born after the Millennials, or in the period between the late 1990s and the 2010s – whether they plan to buy a car and obtain a driver’s license in the future. The study includes 3,000 Generation Z members aged between 12 and 17 years.

Respondents were overwhelmingly in favor of owning cars and driving, which is obviously a good sign for the auto industry.

With 92 percent of those surveyed saying that they plan to own a vehicle in the future, with most of them intending to purchase one when they turn 18 or 19, the difference between Generation Z and Millennials (or Generation Y), as far as their attitude toward cars is concerned, is more than obvious.

The importance of this finding lies in the fact that Generation Z members account for a significant portion of the total population in the U.S., and they will be a very large and wealthy group of potential car shoppers in the future.

“Gen Z accounts for nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the population right now, and by 2020 this group will translate to $3.2 trillion in purchasing power, which is larger than the GDP of some small countries,” said Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence for Cox Automotive, Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book’s parent company. “While they will have access to some serious cash, they will be cautious in how they spend their money, a trait that makes Gen Z markedly different than their Millennial counterparts.”

Associating Cars with Freedom and Convenience

When asked why they would like to own a car, 29 percent of respondents said that it was because cars represented freedom for them, with another 21 percent answering that it was because owning a car is convenient and makes things easier.

Another interesting finding from this study is the fact that owning a car is more important than social media for the majority of respondents, with 72 percent of them saying that they would rather have a car for a year than have access to social media. This is very surprising, given how obsessed today’s younger population is with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms, and being connected at all times.

All of the above findings point to a surprisingly high interest in cars among the next generation of buyers, which should give automakers piece of mind and will certainly make them focus their advertising efforts towards those who are about to reach adulthood.