|Industry has opportunity as more of Gen Z matures into vehicle shopping
As I walked the NADA Show floor this weekend, it didn't escape my notice just how many attendees were baby boomers or Gen Xers.
Don't be alarmed. This isn't going to serve as a bashing of any generation – the differences between them already fuel an excess of clickbait-y headlines, and I don't find sweeping generalizations to be useful.
Here's something more useful, though: This year's show provided evidence that Gen Z, in particular, is starting to capture more of the auto industry's attention.
Yes, some members of Gen Z are still young. 2012 is often considered the cut-off year for their births, making the youngest of them 12 years old in 2024 — too young to drive, let alone purchase a vehicle.
But other members of Gen Z – those born in the late 1990s and early 2000s who are now in or are entering the workforce – have some $473 billion of purchasing power.
That's according to Cox Automotive's Tracy Fred, who spoke with Automotive News and to NADA Show attendees this weekend about Gen Z's evolving vehicle purchase habits. I counted more than 100 people, young and old, at the Dealer Learning Lab where she gave her presentation.
One bit of wisdom: Dealers and automakers should know Gen Z members are not as keen as they might think on buying a vehicle entirely online, Fred said. If that's surprising, this will be, too: Among generation groups, only boomers were more likely to prefer purchasing a vehicle in person than Gen Z, according to a recent study by Cars.com.
I leave Las Vegas curious to see how dealers and automakers will seize on selling to this increasingly coming-of-age generation in 2024.
— C.J. Moore, retail reporter