The best car shopper now might be the smartphone generation


Shhhhh.

Don’t tell their (your) parents.

But three-quarters of millennials believe they are better than the older generation car shopper thanks to their “prolific” use of mobile technology during the car-buying process.

Photo: clearwritingsolutions.com
Photo: clearwritingsolutions.com
Millennial role reversal?

And if you’re in that age group, you probably have a point, according to Edmunds.com.

Millennials quickly are becoming better educated and more self-sufficient buyers than other generations – that is, their parents – said Edmunds.com, a car-shopping website that relied on responses from a January survey involving 1,500 adults ages 18 and older and a March survey of 1,000 adults ages 18-34.

Generation Y adults, millennials, were born from 1977-94, making them 21 to 38 years old now.

“Millennials today are informed car buyers,” said Avi Steinlauf, CEO of Edmunds.com, which combined results of two surveys commissioned by the website. “They’re making the most out of the volume of information available at their fingertips, and it’s helping them to make a smarter car purchase.”

And they’re not shy about sharing that knowledge, with more than half saying they actively advise friends and family on the car-buying process compared to 37 percent of their elders.

“One major reason for this is millennials’ proficiency in using mobile devices to research before buying,” said Edmunds.com in a press release about the survey results. “The study found that millennials especially turn to mobile for critical car shopping activities such as reading vehicle reviews (41 percent of millennials versus 20 percent of all other adults), locating vehicles for sale (34 percent versus 20 percent) and researching vehicle pricing (33 percent to 21 percent).”

Edmunds’ research concluded that 80 percent of millennials overall used their mobile devices to help them with at least one car-shopping task, compared to 46 percent of people ages 35 and older.

Among other findings of the Edmunds.com surveys:

  • Millennials skew toward used cars when they buy, with used comprising 78 percent of the group’s car purchases compared to 68 percent of adults age 35 and older.
  • Nearly three-quarters of millennials (72 percent) said they have considered buying a hybrid or electric vehicle, and 66 percent said they would consider buying a self-driving vehicle.
  • Four of every five millennials, a whopping 80 percent, want their smartphone features integrated into their car, and 62 percent said they would pay more for a WiFi-connected vehicle.
  • But technology features ranked behind price, fuel economy and performance in the age group.
  • About 70 percent of recent millennial purchasers said they contacted a dealer via text message as a car shopper, compared to just 43 percent of all other adults.

So, if you’re not in that Gen-Y age group, perhaps one of the calls you ought to make when shopping for your next car should be to a millennial you know.