February 20th 2017

How to Market Cars to Millennials and Why You Should.

Posted by Will Shadbolt

There are plenty of stereotypes about millennials. They only eat organic, gluten-free meals. They’re lazy and entitled workers. They prefer public transportation or Uber to owning a car. Like almost all stereotypes, these are egregiously wrong, especially the last one. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the myth of millennials forgoing cars, why it’s untrue and why/how your auto dealership can better market to millennials. 


1. Origins of the stereotype. 

Many millennials came of age around 2008, during the financial crisis—not exactly the best time to make a large investment, like a car. But even after the recession subsided, it still seemed like young buyers weren’t interested in vehicles. That’s because millennials are increasingly moving to cities. It doesn’t make sense to own a car when you live in New York, where roads are crowded, parking is difficult/expensive and there are taxis and subways available almost everywhere. 

But generally those settling down prefer the suburbs. When millennials get married and start a family (which is happening at later ages than in past generations), it’s likely they’ll move out into smaller towns, where owning a car is practically a necessity. So, although millennials may be buying vehicles at an older age, they’re still buying, and slowly making up more of the market. 


2. Why your dealership can’t forget about millennials. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that in 2016, millennials “outpaced baby boomers for the first time” in California. And CMO.com says that millennials will make up 40% of new auto purchases in the next decade. Clearly, millennials are already an important chunk of the market, and they’re only going to become more significant as time goes on. 


3. How to market cars to millennials.

Advertising to millennials as a whole can be tricky. No generation has uniform tastes, and millennials are an especially diverse group. Still there are a few characteristics that most look for in a car: price, utility and environmental-friendliness. 

Most millennials today don’t have money to throw around. They’ll search for an affordable, dependable ride rather than a luxury vehicle. If they have kids, they’ll look for a bigger car with more seating—but one that’s still inexpensive. Others expect certain features in new cars, like all the abilities of their smartphone. 

Brandon Matlock, a millennial real estate agent who lives in walking distance of his job, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, “I see a lot of people my age have affordable, reliable cars. I bought my Prius because I wanted to get great gas mileage.”

Marketers aiming for millennials need to keep this in mind and promote practical vehicles or cars with innovative technology. Your dealership needs to ensure that ads are reaching millennials. And while they are a diverse group, reading different publications and watching different channels, one thing most of them use is social media—90% of them, in fact, according to relevateauto.com. So focus extra time and attention on your dealership’s social media presence. 

So, moving forward, don’t let your dealership succumb to the belief that millennials don’t purchase cars. They do, just at a later age than previous generations. Make sure your advertising is equipped to make the most out of this growing new market and contact Giovatto Advertising. We bring over 29 years of auto advertising experience to every TV spot, web banner and social media post we put out. Plus, we’ve seen our fair share of trends, so we know what type of campaigns will last in this changing media landscape. Over the next 10 years, as more millennials purchase cars, trust the experts at Giovatto Advertising and come to us for the results you need.

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