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: “A wedding trend I have noticed is not having a photographer, and just having friends take all the pictures.”—Female, 18, CO

For Millennials, buying coffee is “an emotional experience.” A recent study by custom coffee roaster S&D Coffee & Tea also found that for 18-34-year-olds sustainability can elevate that experience. Though only 22% of Millennials say they know what “sustainability” means when it comes to coffee, 45% said they think highly of coffee brands that sell sustainably sourced products, and 25% said they would go out of their way to get it. But coffee brands are warned not to just slap on a label: “Use of coffee terms as mere labels will render them powerless to sharp-eyed Millennials who are increasingly skeptical of unsupported language.” (MUNCHIES

The body positive movement has empowered teens to embrace the plus-size industry. Purchasing of plus-sized clothing by 13-17-year-girls has nearly doubled over the past four years as more options have been made available by brands, according to an NPD study. But popular plus-size blogger and designer Gabi Gregg says there is still room for the market to grow: “I’m always hunting for styles that are a bit more fashion-forward and trend-driven, but that encompass classic silhouettes. I cannot find them easily at this point.” Forever 21, ASOS, and Eloquii have all expanded to plus-size lines, and Target’s curvy collection Ava + Viv drove the retailer’s plus-size offerings by 30% in 2015.  (Teen Vogue

Millennials are leaving anti-wrinkle creams in the dust, and sending the beauty industry scrambling. The rise of selfies has motivated Millennials’ desire for immediate results from natural or clinical products, driving an increase in the cosmetics category by 13% for 2015. But prestige skin care, which includes products for fighting lines and wrinkles, only grew 3% in 2015, and is no longer appealing to the generation that is embracing a “a beauty-from-the-inside-out approach.” While their younger age is a factor, experts say there is also a shift in attitude, and the new generation is more likely to embrace “who they are”—including lines and gray hair. (WWD,POPSUGAR

Millennial dads are the future of retail, according to a recent report from Mintel. The stereotype that men dislike shopping has led brands to look past them and towards the coveted Millennial mom demographic. (Something we’ve warned against.) It turns out, however, that young dads enjoy shopping with their children. About eight out of 10 Millennial dads surveyed said they prefer to shop with their kids, and 74% said going shopping is an opportunity to bond. They also see it as a chance to pass along lessons to their children: 74% said their kids know the value of a dollar. (Business Insider

MIT students have created a robot chef. Spyce Kitchen, a fully automated restaurant that cooks and prepares food in under five minutes, has won a food technology contest and is currently in place at MIT’s dining hall. The robotic system can run on its own—other than needing ingredients to be restocked by humans—and is able to measure ingredients, monitor food temperature, cook the ingredients, and then serve the meal in a bowl.  Students can order meals like mac and cheese, stir-fry, and jambalaya, via touchscreen or mobile app. (Eater)

Quote of the Day: “There's been a resurgence in the home cook, and that's been my biggest interest. There's increasing amounts of high-quality, interesting produce and recipes to use.”—Male, 29 ,NC

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