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2020 Auto Trends to Attract Younger Buyers

Automotive News Millennial & Gen Z

Younger Buyers Know What They Want

As we enter a new year and a new decade the automotive industry will continue to evolve its product offerings, technology and value considerations with a majority of focus on millennial and Generation Z buyers.

In a recent survey of 8,000 respondents globally, Brandwatch identified some of the most important trends for the rapid growing youth market. Quality and affordability top the list. Followed by sustainability and renewables, friendly customer service and autonomous vehicle technology being the breakthrough of most interest to consumers.

While the growth of light-duty SUV and pick-up trucks will continue to grow into the next decade in general. Small crossovers with SUV attributes are a fast-growing segment driven largely by younger buyers. They prefer smaller more practical vehicles for their lifestyles and budgets.

However, a number of industry-leading manufacturers have redoubled their commitment to sedans led by premium European brands Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volvo and Alfa Romeo and fast-growing Asian; Hyundai/Kia, industry leaders Toyota, Honda and Nissan, offering more sporty and stylish traditional format models to attract younger consumers.

The emerging younger buyers market and older value-conscious consumers are also sustaining the pace of small car sales. In spite of sustained low fuel prices that have traditionally depressed this category, it's the third leading overall segment following light-duty trucks and small SUV Crossovers.

Despite the narrative that millennials are no longer interested in owning a vehicle, sales figures for tech-rich and fun-to-drive vehicles score well with millennial and Gen Z buyers.

Vehicle Prices Will Continue to Climb 

Growing industry competition, a volatile international trade environment, and hundreds of billions of dollars invested in widespread electrification of consumer vehicles will make this a challenging new era for the industry.  

After the previous decade where car prices in the US increased 30 percent, new market pressures and higher production costs further price escalation threatens to put new cars out of reach of many buyers, bolstering premium pre-owned demand. 

New car prices will continue to rise at an annual rate of 3% or more. Carmakers have already partially addressed this issue. With improved high tech manufacturing processes and advances in software and component-based vehicle service and repair, the average vehicle on the road today is better than ever before and likely to last longer.

Because of the economic crisis of 2008 to 2009, consumers are holding onto their cars for upwards of 11 years. Prior to 2008, it was three or four years.

Traditional 3 and 4-year auto financing programs are already adjusted to longer terms of up to 6 to 7 years.

Though car sales in the US remain strong faltering world markets adds even more price pressure here at home. The market has slowed down after an unprecedented decade of growth. The auto sector will be more susceptible to trade issues; foreign exchange fluctuations, higher raw material costs and more aggressive price competition.

Industry Must Embrace Sales Technology

The automotive industry needs to be innovative with emerging technologies of sales and marketing tactics adopted by dealers and manufacturers.

321 Ignition's gold-standard dealership website platform is at the forefront of the transformation of the traditional auto business. Focused on the needs and motivations of younger car buyers, it's a tech trailblazer.

321 Ignition uses big data, behavioral science and AI to create a mobile-first, more responsive and informative website experiences. 321 Ignition addresses millennial and Gen Zers demand for more transparency in pricing and choices available to them.

Trend for Auto Dealers

Webrooming is the reliance on internet research by millennials and Generation Z in preparation for major purchases.

Better designs paired with easy to navigate websites will help dealerships offer the best webroom environments. Therefore offering efficient and productive car shopping experiences.

Auto Dealerships must look at their website as their most important selling tool, not just an after-thought.

It's Time to Put Mobile-First

The core advantage of 321 Ignition is that it is an industry exclusive Mobile First platform. Since the rise of smartphone use, websites have been optimized for mobile use. But for the optimal User Experience and User Interface (UX /UI) features essential for attracting, retaining and closing sales to younger buyers. Websites need to be mobile-first and later adapted for desktop viewing.

The 321 Ignition mobile-first mission:

  • assures simple direct design and layout
  • clear site navigation features
  • the fastest website load times in the industry.

Loading Time Makes the Difference

Load times are essential. Websites lose up to half of their traffic to competitors if they load in more than 3 seconds.

The 321 Ignition platform is driven by a user-first obsession. Every feature of a website is designed to meet the needs of shoppers as opposed to easy shortcuts for web developers.

Dealership websites loaded with widgets and screen within screen features vs. straight HTML content, might be cost-effective for the web developers but are clunky and awkward future buyers.

Auto industry dealerships not keeping up with advancing digital retail trends in website tech face the prospect of becoming obsolete. This will hurt dealers the most as younger buyers who become more important as Boomers continue to age out of the car-buying market

Don't Lose Your Sales Momentum

According to 321 Ignition founder and CEO Lyamen Savy, "Dealers with old school websites will continue to lose sales momentum with each successive wave of younger tech-savvy buyers."

This results in dealers continually losing ground to more sophisticated competitors.

"Millennial and Gen Z buyers can smell a bad website experience and are immediately turned off and start seeking out more modern dealerships," Savy said.

321 Ignition has built-in tools that help consumers do their homework and increase their trust. By the time they walk into a dealership's showroom, they know what they want, how much they can spend and have realistic expectations. They can trust their car salesperson and be ready to make a purchasing decision. 

Websites that pass the scrutiny of younger buyers possessing a ton of info at their fingertips will come out on top in 2020.