Millennials becoming savvy car shoppers

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When it comes to car shopping, it's not uncommon for young adults to turn to their parents for experienced tips and advice. But a new study from car buying platform Edmunds.com suggests that the younger, tech-savvy generation is quickly becoming a more educated and self-sufficient group of buyers due to their prolific use of mobile devices during the car shopping process.

According to the study commissioned by Edmunds in early 2015, 73 percent of Millennials (age 18-34) said they believe they are savvier car buyers than their parents. More than half of Millennial respondents also said they actively advise friends and family on the car buying process, compared with 37 percent of older Americans. 

One major reason for this is Millennials' proficiency in using mobile devices to research before buying. The study found that Millennials especially turn to mobile devices for critical car shopping activities such as reading vehicle reviews (41 percent of Millennials vs. 20 percent of all other adults), locating vehicles for sale (34 percent vs. 20 percent) and researching prices (33 percent vs. 21 percent). Edmunds' research concluded that 80 percent of Millennials used mobile devices to help with at least one car shopping task, compared with just 46 percent of people age 35 and over.

"Millennials today are informed car buyers," said Avi Steinlauf, Edmunds.com CEO. "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. And since a smart car buyer is a quality car buyer, it all points to an optimistic and healthy future for the auto industry."

But while Millennials have a propensity toward using mobile devices during the car shopping experience, the study also showed this group still values the in-dealership experience. The study found that 64 percent of Millennials prefer face-to-face interaction with dealers as opposed to remote communications, and an overwhelming 96 percent said it is important to test drive a car before they buy it, debunking the myth that Millennials make all of their car buying decisions on their phones.

Other noteworthy findings from the study include:

Edmunds.com's study of Millennial car shopping habits is primarily an aggregation of two recent surveys commissioned by the company. The first survey was conducted in January 2015 and polled 1,500 U.S. adults 18 and over who purchased a vehicle within the last three months. The second survey was conducted in March 2015 and included 1,000 respondents between the ages of 18 and 34. Used car shopping data comes from Edmunds' 2014 Used Vehicle Market Report.

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