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November 11, 2021

Younger Car Buyers Take Longest To Buy A New Car

Generation Z is the most open-minded and well researched car buying generation, taking seven weeks to make a car purchase, a recent study by leading automotive marketplace CarGurus has revealed.

CarGurus, is a global, online automotive marketplace that uses proprietary technology and data analytics to connect buyers and sellers of cars. They operate in markets such as the U.S., UK, and Canada.

Their study found that while 18–24-year-old buyers felt the urgency of their purchase was the greatest of any age group, they were still willing to wait the longest and conduct the most research.

At the same time, fewer of the Gen Z cohort reported entering the buying process with an attachment to a specific manufacturer or model type, leaving them open to a wider range of brands than members of other generations.

The CarGurus study of 1,512 people who have bought a car in the past four months, split participants into typical generational cohorts—Gen Z (18-24 years old), Millennials (25-39), Gen X (40-54) and Boomers (55-65). Gen Z revealed they were less likely to be certain of the type of the vehicle they would buy (43 percent of Gen Z vs 63 percent on average).

The make of vehicle (29 percent of Gen Z vs 47 percent on average), the amount of money they were willing to spend (35 percent of Gen Z vs 57 percent on average), whether to buy new or used (48 percent of Gen Z vs 70 percent on average) and whether to purchase or lease (Gen Z 51 percent vs 68 percent on average) were also decisions where the youngest cohort struggled.

With so many variables to resolve, only 41 percent of 18–24-year-olds claimed to feel very confident engaging in the buying process. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, Gen Z also reported taking the longest average time to make a purchase—seven weeks vs four and a half for Gen X.

Likely thanks to this uncertainty, Gen Z buyers were also the most likely to visit multiple sellers before making a purchase—53 percent compared to 41 percent of Gen X and just 34 percent of Boomers. And even once inside the dealership, 89 percent of Gen Z reported using their phone to do last-minute research compared to 57 percent of Gen X and only 37 percent of Boomers.

Responding to the results of the survey, Madison Gross, Director of Customer Insights at CarGurus, offered the following advice to sellers: “CarGurus’ Next Generation of Car Buyers study has clearly demonstrated that Gen Z buyers are entering the market with less certainty and more open-mindedness toward their purchase than any other generation.

“Despite Gen Z’s openness on car-buying decisions, they are well-informed. They show the greatest use of online resources as they research and shop around for what is likely the biggest purchase of their lives to-date. Younger buyers also value authenticity and transparency in a business, so sellers should ensure pricing is consistent across channels to appeal to these buyers.”

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