Technology and the recession are significant disrupters dividing the millennial generation. In fact, Rebecca Lindland, founder and consultant, www.rebeccadrives.com, separates millennials into two groups; and while millennials are generally considered to have been born between 1999 and 1981, she also blurs that line.
Rebecca spoke to a group of auto dealers at a recent auto show I attended, wearing my other hat—that of auto journalist. I’m always fascinated at the similarities between the automotive and home building industries, particularly when it comes to demographics and buying habits. For example, Rebecca pointed out that car buyers are concerned about affordability; more shoppers are being pushed to used inventory. She said consumers are doing more research online and visiting fewer dealers in person. Does any of this sound familiar?
And here’s an interesting note—61 percent of buyers who recently purchased or leased a vehicle said that the most recent purchase experience was the same or worse. Could we, too, be guilty of putting all of our focus on the effort to entice them online, but trailing far behind in simplifying the in-person processes and experiences? On the list of most frustrating annoyances: filling out paperwork/contracts, negotiating price, dealing with a salesperson, searching inventory, valuing their trade-in, and applying for financing. Hmmm….
So what did Rebecca have to say about those minds that we are all trying to understand and get inside of? She starts by defining “The Trophy Generation” born between 1978 and 1988. The oldest among this group was eight years old when the internet became available to the public. Trophies were hugely impacted by 9-11 and the 2008 Great Recession, which hit when they were 20 to 30 years old. As parents, Trophies seem to be more like their parents–the Boomers; their children are included in major life decisions.
- Were coddled, pampered and protected by “helicopter parents”
- Seek experience rather than possessions (live for the moment)
- Are image-conscious, motivated and optimistic
- Expect instant gratification
- Embrace diversity
- Are not responsible for failures (everybody gets a trophy!)
- Are environmentally conscious
- Are tech savvy
When it comes to vehicles, they won’t wait for premium, Rebecca said. They seek an “aspirational” brand but are open to brand resurgence and new brands. They value “in-your-face” statement-making design and technology. In their teens and young adult years, Trophys wanted premium Hummers and Audis. Today, they still want Audi, and have added Tesla and Land Rover to their list of favorite brands. Delivery and service experiences are critical to loyalty; the vehicle must be “responsible for itself.”