Selling to Gen Z-ers: What Car Dealers and OEMs need to know
May 3, 2022
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As Generation Z, born in the years 1997–2012, becomes of age — Gen Z-ers are currently 10 to 25 years old — it’s time for the automotive industry to take note of this particular group. How do Gen Z-ers differ from the generations that came before? Keep reading to learn more and get some ideas for how to market vehicles more effectively to them.

While it’s true Generation Z-ers still have a lot in common with Millennials, their formative years have made them distinct in several key ways. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF), this generation stands out in the following ways:

They’re Racially Diverse

According to the AECF, “As America’s demo­graph­ics con­tin­ue to shift, Gen Z will be the last gen­er­a­tion that is pre­dom­i­nant­ly white.” This generation breaks down as follows:

  • 52% white
  • 25% His­pan­ic
  • 14% Black
  • 4% Asian

During their formative years, they’ve seen the first Black person elected president as well as the legalization of gay mar­riage. Not only that, the AECF writes, “They are more like­ly to have grown up amid diverse fam­i­ly struc­tures — whether in a sin­gle par­ent house­hold, a mul­ti-racial house­hold, or a house­hold in which gen­der roles were blurred.” As a result, this generation is more tolerant of differences in race, sexual orientation, and religion.

They’re Native Digital Users

While Millennials pioneered the use of technology while they were growing up, witnessing the exponential growth of technology and social media, Generation Z was born into an already booming digital age. This makes best-in-class technology a must-have for this generation.

In data compiled by Hootsuite, it was shown that:

  • 85% of Generation Z learns about new products on social media
  • Gen Z-ers are 59% more likely than older generations to connect with brands on social media
  • Instagram is the most popular app for brand discovery followed by Facebook
  • Gen Zers are twice as likely as Millennials to consult YouTube before making a purchase

They’re Financially Conservative

Having come of age during the Great Recession of the early 2000s, Gen Z-ers have watched their parents struggle to make ends meet. The result is a more practical, conservative mentality when it comes to spending.

Savvy Consumers

The AECF explains, “As con­sumers, Gen Z’s behav­ior reflects their val­ues — and the influ­ence of an increas­ing­ly dig­i­tal world.” Here are some of the things that drive them to make purchases:

  • Extensive online research spurred by their tech savvy
  • Social proof through their social networks
  • A pragmatic approach to decision-making including weighing a range of options
  • Influence from real-life users of products as well as celebrity endorsements
  • Sensitivity to a product’s branding — they seek products that will align with their values and online brand
  • The political views of the brands they shop from

Politically Progressive

“Most gen­er­a­tions tend to be more left-lean­ing than the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, and Gen Z is no excep­tion,” says the AECF. For instance, out of all the generations that are of age, they are the most approving of the advancement of LGBTQ rights and the least approving of President Trump’s leadership. Even Republication Gen Z-ers hold more progressive positions on social issues. They are also more likely to believe climate change is due to humans.

Creating a Digital Retail Experience for Generation Z

How can car dealerships and OEMs apply these learnings about Generation Z? Perhaps the biggest takeaway is the importance of building a strong web presence and a seamless digital experience for Gen-Z car shoppers. Learn more about how Carzato’s Online Retail Experience can help you get prepared for the ever-growing next generation of car buyers.