A Multi-Generational View of Car Buying Behavior: Gen Z

A Multi-Generational View of Car Buying Behavior: Gen Z

Part IV: Generation Z' Stuff, Not Experiences

If you’re just tuning in, we’re covering a multi-generational study of automotive shoppers. Click here to read our past posts on Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Make sure to read the final part too, where we provide you with the most important takeaways to increase your revenue.

The exact cut-off dates for Generation Z are still in the works. Some sources define them as the people born after 2002, others claim that the counting should begin as early as 1996. At any rate, they are set to be the generation bigger than Millennials, giving them the biggest buying power the country has ever seen. Born with screens practically in their hands, these are the youngsters who are the most tech-savvy than any generation beforehand. However, because they are just coming of age, it is still unclear how they will spend their money in the automotive industry. What we can do, though, is look for patterns in their interests.

Browse the Store, Shop Online

The most popular businesses among Gen Z are the ones that have a strong online platform but also a physical store that can be visited. While they want to be able to touch the products they buy, they also want to be to make purchases from the conveniences of their own homes. Preliminary reports find that this generation does not care about employee recommendations or company information. They just want to look, feel, and buy as they see fit.


Unlike Millennials who prefer independent internet research to draw their own conclusions, Gen Z prefers to interact with brands on social media. They heavily rely on review sites to gain the knowledge they need, and also use their mobile devices to find information. It is still unclear how well they respond to online ads, such as those found on classified sites or pay-per-click (PPC), but having direct online interactions is critical.

Trends and Pricing

A major difference between Gen Y and Z is that the youngsters are very much into trends. They want exciting campaigns that have a positive social cause, but they also do not necessarily want to feel like they are fish out of water. What seems to attract them the most are in-store events and discounts, but it is too soon to tell if this contradicts their preference for online shopping. At the same time, they are not brand loyal at all. The second biggest consideration for buying a product after trendiness is the cost.

Causes, Not Details

While Millennials have no problem going against the grain if it means that they can support the causes they believe in, Gen Z seems to be more ambivalent. As young people who are growing up in a time that has little to no boundaries, it makes sense that they prefer advertising that breaks stereotypes. In fact, many studies have found that they are more open-minded than the previous generation.

Keep in mind, though, that Generation Z is just starting college at best, and have yet to learn how to navigate independent adulthood. As they enter the workforce full-time, we might discover changes in how they spend and what attracts them. Strategies will have to be flexible enough to accommodate these changes as research grows. In the meantime, successful, comprehensive campaigns should be targeting these and other groups both behaviorally and geographically. If your vendors and in-house marketers are unsure how to do that, the DealerLeads program focuses on that to provide first-generation leads and quality traffic that result in unprecedented volumes of conversions. Contact us to learn about how we can increase your sales and give you an incredible ROI.