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What is driving Generation Z?

July 29, 2016
Get ready, businesses, another generation of consumers is coming. 
And to help dealers prepare, the National Automobile Dealers Association on July 27 hosted a brief webinar, "What’s Driving Gen Z?"
Consumers born in this century — 23 percent of the U.S. population — are projected to have significant purchasing power, and they will want cars. Rachelle Petusky, associate manager of research and marketing intelligence for Cox Automotive, said 72 percent of them would rather have a car than a year’s worth of access to social media. Indeed, one-third would rather have a car than a cell phone, and they are history’s most connected generation.
But they will be cautious in how they spend their money. For Americans 17 and younger, the most important vehicle features center on safety, at 43 percent, compared to 25 percent of millennials at the same age. They also are not as materialistic as their predecessors, and are less concerned about a vehicle’s "popularity," but view a car merely as something that gets them to where they want to go. 
Two-thirds of them will want face-to-face interaction when they buy a car, so customer handling will be tantamount at dealerships, and more than half expect to take two or more test drives before deciding to buy.
And they expect future test drives to encompass not just how a car handles, but introductions to the vehicle’s technology, such as lane departure warning systems. And they will favor fuel-efficient vehicles not so much for being environmentally friendly but because they will save the owner on gas purchases.
Petusky said dealerships will remain integral to future buyers, as in-person interactions will remain a part of the vehicle shopping experience. She said dealers should make mobile a focus in attracting shoppers and retaining customers.
Also, Petusky said dealers must be prepared to appeal to the budget-conscious mindset, highlight safety features more prominently online and offline, embrace a "Consumer Experience" model, and provide a superior test drive experience.