Generational Differences Affect SUV-​Shopping Behavior

BY Courtney Huckabay
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Millennial vehicle-​buying preferences may drive some big shifts in the automotive industry, according to a study from Autolist​.com. The Autolist​.com study, What Drives Millennials, is based on 3,383 vehicle owners nationwide. It shows that Millennials care more about buying a new vehicle (+6.2% vs Gen X). Millennials also care less about price (-5.5% vs Gen X).

"Millennials plan to own their vehicles for less time (50% plan to own for 5 years or less), which should create interesting used car market dynamics down the road," Tanya Gazdik wrote for MediaPost. "By contrast, nearly 10% more of Gen X consumers plan to keep their vehicles for 10 years or longer."

This is good information for dealerships wanting to unload their SUVs on the X and Y generations. According to data from the most recent AudienceSCAN survey, 27% of SUV Shoppers are Gen X and 25% are Gen Y.

"Millennials also care more about the holistic environmental impact of their vehicle (+5.1%), and the features and technology of their vehicle (+2.1%) than Gen X. Conversely, Millennials were also shown to care less about reliability (-5.3%) and automotive brand (-3.6%)."

A new SUV is a big purchase for a millennial buyer or a Gen Xer. AudienceSCAN research revealed 17.8% of SUV Shoppers think TV is most helpful for planning a big purchase, and 10.4% think newspapers are. Consider this when planning campaigns.

"While the general sentiments driving Millennial purchases are wins for auto manufacturers, the long-​term results of shorter ownership are sure to have long-​term ramifications on the industry as a whole, according to Autolist​.com."

Because the Y generation spends a lot of time on phones, mobile campaigns could work on SUV Shoppers. The AudienceSCAN survey showed 37% took action after viewing mobile smartphone app ads or text message ads in the past month.

"The study also broke down the most popular vehicles by segment between the two generations. Although the generations shared the Ford Mustang as the most popular sports car, the two generations differed with their most popular vehicles in all other segments. Most notably, the most popular pickup among Millennials is the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, whereas among Gen X, it is the Ford F‑150."

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.