Gen Z and buying cars

Millennials have up to now been the focus of attention, but the first wave of the next generation, Generation Z, are starting to enter the workplace, and are bound to change the marketing environment, especially the new car market.

Generation Z (also known as iGeneration, Post-Millennials, Plurals or the Homeland Generation in the United States) is the demographic cohort after the Millennials. There are no precise dates for when this cohort starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use starting birth years ranging from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, and as of yet there is little consensus about ending birth years.

A significant aspect of this generation is the widespread usage of the Internet from a young age; members of Generation Z are typically thought of as being comfortable with technology, and interacting on social media websites for a significant portion of their socializing. Some commentators have suggested that growing up through the Great Recession has given this generation a feeling of unsettlement and insecurity.

How is this generation likely to buy cars? Research is showing some interesting trends in this regard. Gen Z is not as materialistic as Millennials, and vehicle style and brand are not as important to Gen Z as they are to Millennials.

Gen Z do not trust autonomous vehicle technology to work, and 65% believe that “lack of trust in the technology to work” is a barrier to adopting self-driving vehicles.

According to the research, 92% of Gen Z own or plan to own a vehicle. The main motivation for this is a desire for freedom and convenience. Gen Z do not see a car as any type of reflection of themselves, and are therefore likely to make purchasing decisions based on function over form.

Being environmentally friendly is important to Gen Z – but not as important as price. Cheaper green cars will be top of their buying preference.

Gen Z is concerned about safety, more so than the infotainment features of a vehicle.

With Gen Z turning their back on TV, email and the fake world of celebrity, it is imperative that car manufacturers start to understand what drives this generation, and adjust their thinking accordingly.