Millennials And Car Culture: They Care About Driving, But Not About Driving New Cars

Millennials bring unique attitudes and a different cultural mindset to vehicles than their older peers, but the fact is, they still drive even though they have to abandon text messaging and social media while they do so.

We’ve been seeing plenty of headlines this week about how Millennials don’t like cars and don’t want to drive. The auto industry is sweating because Millennials aren’t buying cars at the same rate that Boomers did in their youth, citing their preference for technology and the Internet over cars. The ultimate question is whether this shift is driven by a new mindset about driving (which will likely not change) or economic conditions (which will likely change). Of course, there’s a possibility that it’s both.

 

Millennials do bring unique attitudes and a different cultural mindset to vehicles, but the fact is, they still drive. But an article in The New York Times cites stats including:

"In 2008, 46.3 percent of potential drivers 19 years old and younger had drivers’ licenses, compared with 64.4 percent in 1998, according to the Federal Highway Administration."

And:

"Forty-six percent of drivers aged 18 to 24 said they would choose Internet access over owning a car, according to the research firm Gartner."

What it fails to note, however, is that new laws restricting licenses for drivers under age 18 took effect during the decade reference, reducing the number of fully licensed teen drivers. As for the 46% of 18-24 year olds who would choose the Internet over driving, that doesn’t reflect the number that would like to do both. What’s more, that figure also means a majority of 18-24 year olds (54%) would choose a car over a computer.

An article in The Atlantic says:

"Growing up in the 'burbs was part of the reason driving was so central to Baby Boomers' lives. Car keys meant freedom. To city dwellers, they mean struggling to find an empty parking spot."

It also notes:

“Surveys have found that 88 percent [of Millennials] want to live in an urban…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “My aspiration is to retire early and travel!” –Male, 27, CA

They’re putting off marriage and they’re moving back in with mom and dad—and we’re not just talking about Millennials. While younger consumers are becoming “boomerang kids” at higher rates, more Gen Xers and adults at all age levels are living at home than they did 30 years ago. The share of adults who have never been married, while highest for Millennials, has also “swelled” for almost all age groups. (CityLab)

Burger King’s Peace Day partnership offer to McDonald’s was brusquely dismissed, but plenty of other burger chains are willing to play. The pop-up Peace Day shop to raise money for UNICEF will now be created with smaller brands like Denny’s, Wayback Burgers, Krystal, and Giraffas, all of whom reached out to Burger King on social media to announce their eagerness to collaborate. We think young consumers like when brandsPlay Nice with one another, so despite criticism, the campaign is hardly a failure. (AdAge)

Would you ever book a flight if you didn’t know the destination? While your answer might be a strong “NO,” several airlines are using “blind bookings” to “generate some excitement and capitalize on the spontaneity and sense of adventure among younger travelers.” The surprise destination tickets are cheaper, and some brands allow participating customers to pick their dates and interests (partying, culture, shopping, cities, etc.) before choosing their endpoint for them. (WSJ)

The 2015 SAT must have been a doozy of a test. Scores were down seven points from the previous year, their lowest since 2005 when the test was last reworked. The number of students who are considered “prepared” for college is down 16% among black students and 23% among Hispanic students. One factor in the drops is the fact that more students are taking the test than ever before, but high school math and reading skills may be an issue. (The Daily Beast)

While more brands amp up their digital efforts, experiential marketing may be more important than ever to appeal to young consumers, who are looking for unique activities they can talk about on social. Adult Swim’s pop-up drive-in theatre is certainly giving them a sharable moment. The brand is touring the country to give fans 18 and older outdoor screenings of unaired episodes, along with free food truck treats, trivia, and prizes. (Adweek)

Quote of the Day: “A major life milestone that happened this year was that I met my idol, Taylor Swift.” –Female, 22, CA

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