Millennials will eventually replace Boomers as the largest group of workers and consumers. Because of this, it is important for businesses to understand who Millennials are and what they expect as employees and consumers. According to our research at Fraser Communications, we have been able to develop three unique profiles for this strong generation. By 2020, this group will represent 40% of the population. That is less than three years away.
Millennials encompass the group that was born between 1980 and 2000. This group appreciates products that align with their values and help them develop their own unique identities. In fact, most Millennials are not happy to be labeled as Millennials.
All three of these group of Millennials have similar behaviors, but those behaviors are shown in slightly different ways, simply because of their ages and financial situations. Millennials prefer experiences over possessions, are socially conscious, and are constantly connected. These three important aspects of their personalities will affect their buying habits.
- Educated and dependent: This is the youngest group of Millennials and are currently between the ages 18-23. They are just getting out of high school and entering college. They are still dependent on their parents, but they have money to spend. Their car needs will be very different from the groups that need to fit a young family into their vehicles. When it comes to buying cars, they appreciate vehicles that show their personalities and help them get from point A to B. Interestingly, many in this age group still may not have their driver’s licenses as they have been able to rely on their parents and friends for rides to and from school. If they have a car, they most likely got it from their parents.
- Independent: This group is between the ages of 24 and 29 and are buying cars for status or needs. They are just graduating from college and getting into first jobs. Because college is incredibly expensive, many are just beginning to pay the first of their college loans and the loan amounts are shocking. They are just getting into the idea of “adulting” and most are ill prepared for it as they spent most of their lives being taken care of by their parents.
This group is looking for items that help them establish their status, but status to them is different than status for Baby Boomers. As this group is looking for work after finishing their education, they tend to flock to large cities with public transportation; so, many do not need to buy cars. They are very happy to get an Uber because they recognize how ride sharing helps the environment. While looking for work, this group of Millennials is trying hard to be sure that work does not interfere with their favorite hobbies and leisure activities.
- Settled and responsible: This group is between the ages of 30 and 35 and need cars for status or a young family. They are just becoming established in their career and some are starting their young families. This group has lived through recessions and watched their parents struggle, so they may not be willing to spend a small fortune on an automobile as they continue to watch the economy. They may still have student debt, so their ability to afford an expensive automobile is limited. Because they are balancing work, family, and social lives, they are very busy, and they do not want to waste their time at car dealerships or at their service departments.
Even though these three groups of Millennials have different needs when it comes to car buying, they all approach the idea with caution. They use the Internet and their social media connections to learn everything they can. Most will also ask their parents for recommendations. By the time Millennials are done with their research, they know exactly what they want, and they do not need to be “sold to” in the traditional way. It is important for dealerships to understand how and why Millennials shop for cars. Otherwise, car dealerships will have frustrated and alienate this powerful group of consumers.