How To Manage The Millennial Car Shopper : AutoTrader Mobile Millennial Case Study

AutoTrader releases groundbreaking statistics on the future of the automotive shopping experience.

Millennials have the pedal to the mobile metal and are shaking up the automotive advertising, shopping and purchasing structure, as we know it.

Medium's Used ----------

  • 95% use the internet to shop with 82% of their time spend shopping online, 51% being on 3rd party sites
  • Visit an average 10.1 sites during their search


Traditional Media Is Dying ----------

  • ONLY 7% used the newspaper to shop and just 12% used TV
  • 67% said newspapers where not helpful and 49% stating TV was not a helpful resource either.
  • The average buyer spends 19% of the online search at a dealer site and 13% with auto manufacturers’ sites, compared with 15% and 10%, respectively, for the millennial generation.


The Mobile Factor ----------

  • 44% of millennials used more than one connected device to shop for cars
  • By 2020 80% of millennials will use multiple devices to shop for cars
  • Buyers are using personal computers less often, down 3 points since just last year to 88% in 2014, while both tablet and smartphone use are up 9 points in the last year, to 28% each.



Time Spend ----------

  • 17.6 hours is now the average amount of time millennials spend car shopping which is 2 hours more than the industry average


"The key, Helms said, is for automotive sites to design sophisticated, easy-to-use tablet and smartphone apps."


Your Next Steps ----------

Re-Thinking Your Advertising Strategy:

  • With the "Connected Generation" (millennials) in the wake to take over the automotive market, the time is now to adapt your marketing strategy.

Influence Them Online:

Meeting millennials on their devices is the name of the game. Smartphones, tablets and wearable's are now the main connection point between you and your customers. With traditional media having less and less effect on millennial's purchase decisions, connecting with them at strategic points before they enter the dealership is essential to making the sale.

Apps now control 86% of the total time consumers spend on mobile creating a digital presence for your dealership is needed to capture the millennial's eye. Millennials now know what they want, with 70% of them already knowing which make and model they want before they step foot in the dealership.  

  • Give customers an easy way to “pick up where they left off”
  • Make search simple, be visible on all screens
  • Cross device behavior requires conversion goal adjustment
  • Align conventional and digital marketing with your digital channels
  • Create a optimized shopping experience on every device

  Full AutoTrader Infographic:


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Comment by David Ruggles on August 21, 2014 at 12:31am

When did AutoTrader get in the business of doing "marketing research?"  What credibility do they have as researchers?  They mix in truth, with half truths and outright misrepresentation while leaving out some of the most important data.

J. D. Power pioneered the approach of "conducting a survey to "prove" a premise that they would then help Dealers resolve with solutions they provided for a fee. 

When Millennials become a dominant factor in buying new vehicles with gross profit in them, they will have changed.  These days their primary value is the fact that if you can get their first new vehicle purchase you might have a chance at keeping them as they move upstream into vehicles with actual gross profit in them..  At least this is what the new brains in the auto OEM corporate ivory towers, anxious to justify their existence, would tell us. 

Comment by Danny Quinones on August 20, 2014 at 5:32pm

Kinda happy to hear TV advertising is dying yet they keep flooding the Local TV stations wit all that annoying repetitive advertising. How many times do you need to tell me you have the best deals? Jezz.  I'll never buy a Toyota, I can't stand the Local Orlando adds.  

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