Not too long ago, Millennials struck fear into the hearts of car dealerships. Dubbed the “go nowhere” generation, the New York Times claimed that Millennials would be the “End of Car Culture”. Well, breathe easy car dealers – turns out Millennials were just late bloomers: in 2014, Millennials accounted for more than 25% of car sales. That being said, it’s in the best interest of car dealerships to start marketing with this generation in mind.

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If that 25% of all 2014 car sales figure didn’t sell you, here’s a few more interesting stats on Millennials:

As this generation gets older – the youngest are just now entering the workforce, and the oldest are now settling down in homes with families of their own – reliable transportation is becoming an absolute necessity. As one of the largest generations, Millennials have quite the large spending power, and as they continue to enter the job market, this number will only grow. Car dealerships need to continue following the marketing trends that aim towards this generation.

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  • 82% of Millennials find buying/leasing a new car exciting.
  • 75% of Millennials do not think they could live without their current car.
  • 85% of Millennials are looking forward to owning the car they have always wanted versus 59% of Boomers and 72% of Gen Xers.
  • 73% of Millennials love learning about new cars and functions versus 69% of Boomers and 54% of Gen Xers.

For many Millennials, the recession of the late 2000s hit just as they were graduating college and trying to get their first job. Without a steady income, purchasing a big-ticket item like a car was a struggle. As the market rebounds and the unemployment rates continue to fall, Millennials are excited to be in the automotive marketplace, and look forward to the independence of owning their own vehicles.

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  • The trigger of automotive sales for Millennials is an emotional connection. Appealing to a Millennial’s emotional response through brand relevancy is the best way to attract them to your brand.
  • Millennials are digital natives; in fact 85% of Millennials use the internet for car shopping. You can utilize this to your advantage in many ways because it allows you to reach them in a personalized manner. It can be through retargeting ads, optimizing your social media to connect with them, or by email. But, because they are digital natives, your site must be mobile friendly.
  • Have reviews. The majority of Millennials rely on reviews of dealerships to aid them in their car purchasing process.
  • Get social. Around 90% of Millennials are on social media, so get out there and post, and don’t forget to utilize videos! Check out our article How to put your Dealership’s Social Accounts into Drive for more tips on how your dealership should be using social media.
  • Millennials associate strongly with brands that stand for something that they are also aligned with. For a business, that means finding your niche and aligning your business with that niche’s values. Soccer moms, outdoor enthusiasts, nerds, whatever – identify it and market/message appropriately.
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Brands: The top 10 car makes that Millennials are considering are:

  • Honda
  • Chevrolet
  • Toyota
  • Ford
  • Nissan
  • Dodge
  • BMW
  • Jeep
  • Lexus
  • Audi

The top 3 brands Millennials are familiar with are Ford, Toyota, and Chevrolet. Millennials are the only generation with an import in their top 3 most-familiar brands, but this is because they are equally familiar with import and domestic brands.

The top 3 brands that Millennials believe fit their personality best are Audi, Honda, and Mercedes-Benz. Millennials associate themselves with brands that are practical, luxurious, sophisticated, and stylish. Millennials want to be classy, but they will not overpay to appear so: remember Millennials are all about value. These factors explain the top three brands that Millennials believe fit their personality – Honda (because of it’s practicality), Audi, and Mercedes-Benz (because of their luxury and sophistication).

Features: Millennials appreciate a vehicle with features and special functions. You can almost always woo a Millennial with digital features and in-car technologies such as Bluetooth, mobile integration, and navigation.

Maintenance/Service: Millennials are more likely to use independents and chains for vehicle maintenance/service, but they are open to using car dealers. Also, 70% say they would pay more for quality maintenance/service. This is no shock since this generation makes purchasing decisions based on value

As the Millennial car buying market continues to grow, you should be shifting your strategies to include marketing that is aim at them. To stay up to date on emerging trends in automotive industry marketing, make sure to bookmark our auto marketing resource page or contact us today to discuss strategies!