Study highlights impact of Generation Z on the auto industry

(ATLANTA)–Research released by the two most visited car shopping websites gives an in-depth look at the potential impact today’s children will have on the auto industry. The research, released earlier this month by Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, focused on children between the ages of 0 and 17, or “Generation Z.”

“Gen Z accounts for nearly a quarter of the population right now, and by 2020 this group will translate to $3.2 trillion in purchasing power, which is larger than the GDP of some small countries,” said Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence for Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book’s parent company. “While they will have access to some serious cash, they will be cautious in how they spend their money, a  trait that makes Gen Z markedly different than their Millennial counterparts.”

One highlight of the study focused on the changes that automakers will have to make in marketing when trying to woo over future drivers. And Helms said what worked for Millennials may not necessarily work for Generation Z. In fact, nearly 75% of Gen Z teens surveyed said that they would prefer face-to-face interaction when buying a vehicle, suggesting that the trend of buying things online may not necessarily apply to purchasing a vehicle.

“The best news from this research is that auto sales are not going to take a hit because of this generation,” Helms said. “In fact, it may prove to be quite the opposite. Their love for cars and driving is very much alive.”