Around the Industry: Millennials Love Their Cars More Than Social Media and Texting

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MTV recently released a new study, “Millennials Have Drive,” uncovering an increase in young people’s passion for cars and car ownership with three in four young people agreeing they would rather give up social media for a day than their car, and 72 percent agreeing they would rather give up texting for a week than their car.

“Millennials are perhaps the most sophisticated consumers the world has even seen — highly educated, demanding and incredibly adept at using technology to make thoughtful purchases,” said Jeff Lucas, head of Sales, Music and Entertainment, Viacom Media Networks. “We want to understand how millennials’ attitudes toward car ownership are changing as they grow older, the economy improves and the auto sales landscape evolves.”

“The insights gleaned from the first auto study show a generation that emphasizes car ownership and the critical role it plays in their day-to-day lives,” said Berj Kazanjian, senior vice president, Ad Sales Research, MTV. “Millennials, like other generations, see car ownership as a way to establish independence, but millennials also see car ownership as a way to craft their unique adult identity.”

The findings establish that eight in 10 millennials get around most often by car as opposed to any other form of transportation — a stark contrast to studies in recent years that show driving on the decline among young people. This shift in driving behaviors and attitudes toward automobiles can be attributed to millennials aging up into car ownership, an improving economy and the fact that more millennials are able to afford cars now than a few years ago. As a result, young people claim to drive more miles per month than any generation with a self-reported 72 percent increase in the average number of miles driven versus boomers (934 miles vs. 544 miles) and an 18 percent increase versus Gen X (934 miles vs. 790 miles).

Millennials’ passion for driving versus other generations is underscored with 70 percent saying they “like driving a lot” versus 58 percent of boomers and 66 percent of Gen Xers. Moreover, young people are exhibiting a broadening desire to buy and own cars:

• 82 percent of millennials find buying/leasing a new car exciting

• Three in four young people feel like they couldn’t live without their current car

• 85 percent of millennials are looking forward to one day owning the car they’ve always wanted versus 59 percent of boomers and 72 percent Gen Xers

• 73 percent of young people love learning about new car models and functions versus 69 percent of boomers and 54 percent of Gen Xers

Millennials see owning a car as more than just a big-ticket purchase of four wheels and an engine with 87 percent agreeing, “I enjoy customizing the things I own and experience I have to make them uniquely for me.” When specifically asked about cars, 73 percent agreed, “it’s important their car reflect who they are,” and 81 percent said they wish there were “more affordable ways to customize my car.”

Overall, the study shows immense opportunity in the auto industry to capture the attention of this passionate generation. 

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