Will Millennials Drive the Automotive Industry Forward?

Duff & Phelps recently surveyed over 2,000 millennials to reveal if millennials will buy fewer cars than prior generations.

Given that 2.4 billion people were born between 1980 and 1996, according to Bloomberg, it’s a question that’s likely keeping some auto industry executives up at night—and there’s some anecdotal evidence behind it. Millennials prefer public transportation, ride-hailing, biking/scootering and even walking to driving their own cars—at least that’s the conventional wisdom.

However, we wanted to go further than conventional wisdom. In a survey of over 2,000 millennials from around the globe, we obtained real numbers for what millennials, a generation that currently makes up nearly one-third of the world’s population, will do when it comes to buying automobiles in the years ahead.

The survey’s results indicate that common assumptions about low car ownership should be tossed out along with tired millennial stereotypes like poor work ethic, a sense of entitlement and bad attitudes.

Stereotypes aside, the results were surprising given that a higher percentage of millennials live in cities (with access to myriad public transportation options) relative to other generations, and millennials tend to be more environmentally conscious. However, it’s clear that millennials actually do value car ownership, and a high percentage expect to make another car purchase in the next five years. This is good news for automotive companies currently facing headwinds for the first time this decade.

Our online survey was performed with the goal of obtaining responses from men and women between the ages of 23 and 38 (born between the years 1980 and 1996) from some of the largest automotive markets around the world. The survey examines the responses on a global level as well as a regional level grouped as follows: the U.S. and Canada; Latin America, including Mexico, Brazil and Argentina; Europe, including Germany, UK, France and Italy; and Asia, including China (other than Hong Kong), Hong Kong, Japan, India and Singapore. The charts, data and findings in this report are based on the global survey responses unless otherwise indicated.

Key findings include:

  • Millennials Value Car Ownership—Will the Trend Continue? Three-quarters of millennials own cars, and most of them expect to purchase or lease a new car in the next five years
  • Millennial City Dwellers Will Continue to Own/Lease Cars: 88% of global millennials living in cities who have a car expect to purchase or lease another one in the next five years
  • Having a Car = Necessity: Globally, 87% of millennials believe that car is a necessity on some level
  • Will Millennials Replace Their Old Car With a New One? Of the 57% of millennials who plan to sell or terminate their lease in the next three years, 94% plan to replace their vehicles
  • Market Share of Hybrid/Electric Vehicles Poised to Increase: While gas or diesel powertrains remain the preferred choice globally, millennials’ interest in hybrids and EVs is high relative to current market share
  • Millennials Prefer Owning/Leasing a Car Over Ride-hailing Services: Globally, 75% of millennials chose owning/leasing a car over using ride-hailing services, if they would cost the same

To request a copy of the full report visit, www.duffandphelps.com/Millennials-Automotive-Report or email [email protected].

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