Ally knows and loves the car business. We immerse ourselves in the study of automotive trends to better understand and serve our auto customers. Beyond research, we’re simply obsessed with cars because we know they’re a vital part of our customers’ lives.
On a more personal level, car love is in my blood. Born and raised in the motor city, I always have and always will love cars. That’s why I’m thrilled to report our recent research confirms something I have long suspected – young people still care about cars.
The popularity of vehicle-sharing and ride-sharing start-ups, along with reports of fewer Millennials buying cars, has often been interpreted to mean that cars don’t matter much to younger buyers, but a recent study conducted for Ally by the Center for Generational Kinetics debunks some of these developing theories about millennials and car ownership.
More Millennials Are Saving for a Car
Millennials do value cars – many are actively saving to buy one and even think cars can help improve their social life! Our findings suggest younger generations are not so different from their predecessors in their financial goals, but rather social and economic changes have caused them to reach personal and professional milestones later in life.
More Millennials reported they are saving for their next vehicle compared to Gen X or Baby Boomers, with many having savings accounts specifically dedicated to buying a car. So we asked, where do ride-sharing services fit into the picture with nearly six in every ten Millennials saying they are saving to buy a car?
While they will continue to use Uber and Lyft as passengers, Millennials also see these services as an opportunity to earn additional income. According to our study, 28 percent of Millennials said they would consider using their next vehicle for ride sharing. These services provide flexible employment, with a low barrier of entry for those with a newer vehicle.
Taking Their Experience to Social Media
Want more proof that cars matter to Millennials? Take a look at their social media accounts. In our study, 45 percent of Millennials said they posted a picture of their new vehicle online. This is a clear indication to us that young buyers are likely proud of their cars.
This sense of pride could also explain why more than 40 percent of Millennials feel that the vehicle they drive impacts their dating prospects. We expect that the social importance of vehicles will only grow as the generation ages and enters different life stages.
Our research also found that young people use social media in all aspects of the car-buying process – from what vehicle to buy to where to buy and finance it – much more than Boomers and Gen X. And, the digital engagement doesn’t stop after they take delivery of the vehicle. Millennials are much more likely to post reviews about their car-buying experience compared to other generations.
Excited, but Overwhelmed
While Millennials do care about cars and have aspirations to purchase one, that doesn’t mean they’re naturals at the car-buying process. Millennials reported being more excited and less guarded when entering a showroom to buy a car than the other generations. Despite this excitement, they are relatively new to the process and reported feeling overwhelmed. Thirty-three percent said that they were unsure about what questions to ask at the dealership, compared to 17 percent of Gen X and 16 percent of Boomers.
Making It Easier to Understand
At Ally, we understand buying a car is a big decision. We’re committed to helping consumers make the right choices and feel more comfortable with the process. We see anxiety and uncertainty among car buyers as opportunities to develop new and better ways to help educate consumers and increase their confidence before heading to a dealership. That’s why we’ve developed Ally Wallet Wise, a free financial education program, and the Ally Do It Right Community as resources to help take the mystery out of financial services.
If that sounds up your alley, below are a few other articles that can help new car buyers feel more prepared when shopping for their next vehicle:
- Understanding How Credit Can Affect Buying a Car
- What to Consumer When Researching a New Car
- What to Consider Before Buying a Hybrid Car
- Auto Financing Options: How to Finance with Your Dealer and Ally
- Savvy Shopper: Tips for Buying a New Car
Do you think cars are still important to younger car buyers? And, what can Ally do to make the car-buying process easier so consumers don’t feel overwhelmed? We would love to hear your thoughts!
Andrea (Riley) Brimmer is the chief marketing and public relations officer for Ally. Andrea oversees Ally’s marketing and advertising strategies and is also responsible for market research initiatives and brand management. In 2018, she was named among Notable Women in Marketing by Crain’s Detroit Business as well as AdAge’s esteemed list of Women to Watch, cited for her forward-thinking, disruptive approach. For a full bio, click here.