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Millennials smart on auto purchase

News, 30 March 2015

SANTA MONICA, CA: Three quarters of US Millennials think they're smarter than their parents when it comes to buying cars, thanks in part to their use of mobile technology according to a new report.

A study of US Millennial car shopping habits by car-buying platform Edmunds.com was based on two surveys, one of 1,000 respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, and one of 1,500 adults who had bought a vehicle in the preceding three months.

Some 73% of Millennials believed they were savvier car buyers than their parents and more than half said they actively advised friends and family on the car buying process, compared to 37% of older Americans.

Millennials take centre stage

Read Consumers in 2015 for an inside track on how to unlock
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The study also found that Millennials especially turned to mobile for critical car shopping activities such as reading vehicle reviews (41% of Millennials vs 20% of all other adults), locating vehicles for sale (34% vs 20%) and researching vehicle pricing (33% vs 21%).

Overall, Edmunds' research concluded that 80% of Millennials used their mobile devices to help them with at least one car shopping task, compared to just 46% of people aged 35 and over.

Avi Steinlauf, Edmunds.com CEO, described them as informed car buyers. "They're making the most out of the volume of information available at their fingertips," he said, "and it's helping them to make a smarter car purchase.

"And since a smart car buyer is a quality car buyer, it all points to an optimistic and healthy future for the auto industry."

The heavy use of mobile for research activities was not cutting dealers out of the loop, however. About 70% of recent Millennial car buyers said that they contacted a dealer via text message during the shopping process. And 64% of Millennials said that they preferred face-to-face interaction with dealers as opposed to remote communications.

Their attachment to their smartphones continued to the car itself as four in five thought it was important to integrate their smartphone features into their car, and 62% said they would be willing to pay more for a WiFi-connected vehicle.

When it comes down to it, however, these things can be filed under 'nice to have'. Price, fuel economy and performance remained the major priorities for these buyers.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff