Generation Y Wants iPhones/Tablets, Not Cars
August 13, 2012 5:33 PM
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Automakers are struggling to capture this particular age group as sales drop
Automakers are starting to see a shift in the priorities of potential young car buyers today. Gone are the days of late teens and twenty-somethings rushing to buy their first car for a taste of freedom. Instead, this age group, or Generation Y, would prefer the latest smartphone or tablet.
"A vehicle is really a discretionary purchase and a secondary need versus an iPhone, mobile phone or personal computer," said Joe Vitale, an automotive consultant with Deloitte.
The car is no longer a teenager or 20-year-old's only chance at freedom. This generation can now connect via smartphone, tablet or laptop no matter where they are.
Generation Y seems to be more into fancy gadgets than monthly car payments [Image Source: softwarewithstyle.com]
The other issue here is that members of this age group don’t typically have fat wallets. A cash-strapped twenty-something will choose the latest gadget to
keep connected with friends
and family rather than buy a car, pay to keep it maintained, purchase car insurance, etc. This is obviously much easier for those that live in large cities with reliable public transportation.
But having the latest device over a car isn't always a frivolous choice. Many companies today keep employees connected through email, a company website or other networks. Having a mobile device almost essential for the employed or even job seekers that need to have a way for potential employers to contact them at any time.
So what does this mean for the auto industry? It means that automakers have to find new ways to capture this audience. The number of U.S. auto buyers ages 18-34 dropped to 11 percent in April 2012, compared to 17 percent in April 2007, which was before the recession. A total of 14 million U.S. auto buyers ages 18-34 are expected to make a vehicle purchase in 2012, which is the best year yet since 2007, but is still a drop from the annual average of 16.8 million from 2000-2007.
Companies like Ford and Toyota have built inexpensive, subcompact cars like the
and Scion xB/xD for the frugal youngsters that make up Generation Y. Automakers have also tried to lure this age group by adding increased technology for music and social networking in their vehicles, although the U.S. Department of Transportation has been trying to eliminate unnecessary technology in vehicles to
reduce distracted driving
. Automakers, however, have been rebelling and
adding new tech anyway
in order to give the public what it wants and increase sales.
But the issue remains that if this generation just doesn't have the cash or the need for a car, automakers may have to
find other ways to sell
to this age group.
The Detroit News
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RE: Plus Autos Cost a Lot More
8/13/2012 6:26:16 PM
Captain Obvious' findings stemmed from an earlier survey performed last year or so. It asked what young adults consider coming of age. Up until the 90's or so it used to be a car, house, and family. Now, it's a smartphone, an apartment and a job. People's goals have changed, but that's mostly because of the lousy economy. The upfront and ongoing costs of a car, house or family are just too much for most of us.
RE: Plus Autos Cost a Lot More
8/13/2012 8:45:38 PM
Yeah, the real change is because of the status symbol and necessarily because of cash. Kids would want cars in the past even if they were buckets. Nowadays a smartphone is the status icon that is meant to magically reflect your maturity. I highly doubt that it's the real reason for drops in new car sales, though, especially considering the article itself points out that sales are close 2007 numbers when tablet and smartphone saturation are at an all time high.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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