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Millennials Go Mobile While in the Market for Automobiles

Millennials more likely than older consumers to conduct mobile car shopping activities

April 22, 2015 | Demographics | Mobile | Automotive

Millennial behavior indicates mobile research is integral to the car-buying process, according to recent data from While auto advice from family and friends remains welcome, this cohort is increasingly turning to mobile before purchasing, resulting in 73% of US millennials claiming they are “savvier” car buyers than their parents.

Leading Sources that Influence Automotive Purchasing Decisions According to US Car Shoppers, Feb 2015 (% of respondents)

In an April 2015 study from Crowdtap, 36% of US adult car shoppers reported “friend or family recommendations” as the most influential source in decision-making. And millennials surveyed in March 2015 by Edmunds were willing to comply—more than half of 18- to 34-year-olds said they “actively advise family and friends” looking to purchase a car, compared with 37% of respondents ages 35 and over.

However, there’s a reason why the younger generation may be so self-assured at car talk: They’re using their mobile devices at high rates to conduct research before even stepping foot on the lot.

Mobile Car Shopping Activities Conducted by US Millennial* vs. Total** Car Buyers, March 2015 (% of respondents in each group)

In the Edmunds survey, millennials overindexed across the board when it came to mobile car shopping activities including reading reviews, locating vehicles for sale and researching pricing. Going further, it’s noteworthy that 41% of millennials used mobile to read reviews, considering that the Crowdtap survey found that online review sites were the second most influential source in deciding to purchase, cited by nearly one-fifth.

October 2014 research by Millward Brown Digital confirmed that millennials are more apt to go mobile when auto shopping. When asked which screen they used while shopping for a car, millennials were nearly twice as likely to use a smartphone as Gen Xers, at 29% vs. 15%, respectively, though 12% of both groups reported using a tablet.

What does this mean for marketers? With 80% of millennials using their mobile devices for at least one task related to car shopping, according to Edmunds, it’s key for marketers to recognize not only how tech-oriented this generation is, but also how well-informed they are. “They’re making the most out of the volume of information available at their fingertips, and it’s helping them to make a smarter car purchase,” said Avi Steinlauf, CEO of “And since a smart car buyer is a quality car buyer, it all points to an optimistic and healthy future for the auto industry.”

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