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GENERATION Y: When I Grow Up I Want to "Share" a Car

                  

According to a recent
Consumer Expenditure Survey, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of a typical family’s spending today goes to transportation and housing—unless you are a member of Generation Y. It appears that this often misunderstood generation has now turned against owning a car.

·         According to research, in 2010, adults between the ages of 21 and 34 bought just 27 percent of all new vehicles sold in America, down from the peak of 38 percent in 1985. Miles driven are down and the proportion of teenagers with a license fell, by 28 percent, between 1998 and 2008.

Auto makers are deeply concerned that Generation Y does not care about vehicles nearly as much as they do about their iPhone. General Motors has enlisted the youth-brand consultants at MTV Scratch to give their vehicles a Gen Y edge while Subaru is trying to get the emotional connection right with Gen Y using social media. Generation Y (80+ million) is even larger than the highly influential Baby Boomers (78 million) and their lack of interest in owning an automobile is alarming.

They are “hugely significant in terms of raw numbers alone,” said Sage Marie, a senior manager at American Honda. “Capturing their business and ensuring their loyalty is crucial for the future. Understanding this generation is a step that cannot be overlooked when attempting to market to and retain them.”

While automobile sales are down, car –share is up!



Have you ever heard of
Zipcar? It is a car-sharing company that was founded in 2000—offering an alternative to renting or owning a vehicle. Zipcar is the world’s largest car-sharing company, with almost 700,000 members!  Technology has made car-sharing both possible and painless for the consumer and it might just be the perfect match for Gen Y.

 Check out the “Is Zipcar For Me” list. If you can answer “yes” to at least 50% of these statements you are probably a member of Generation Y—or at least think like they do. J  



1.      I want to save money

2.      I use public transit, but need a car sometimes

3.      I prefer public transportation but they can't always get you where you need to go

4.      I don’t want the hassle of owning a car

5.      I want to do my part to take care of our planet

6.      I need a second car once in a while

7.      I need a big car for a big job (like moving from one apartment community to another)

8.      I want to impress my boss (I love this one!)

 

Get To the Core: Zip Car and iPhone


What does sharing a car have to do with renting an apartment? Things that make you go hmmm…

As developers set out to build a product that will appeal to this generation it will be important to keep a close tab on their ever changing wants and needs. What appeals to them in this cycle of their life may fall to the bottom of the list once they move to the next one. I expect that some things will remain the same—their desire to connect and collaborate—they have been in this mode since infancy.



Right now, it appears that when it comes to their home they appreciate convenience, enjoy mixed-use living environments, prefer a smaller living space than their parents, are drawn to pedestrian friendly areas, and are environmentally conscious. Oh, and they just might prefer to share a car vs. own one. Could this be the next big thing?
Will we have to reduce the number of vehicle parking spaces at a community and add in more bike parking? Never say never!  Is this a trend that could  impact the leasing decision in some markets? Could the location of a car determine where someone chooses to live?  Could this be added into our apartment marketing ideas book?

You just never know with Gen Y—just when we think we have them figured out—they change directions again. They will keep us all on our toes for many years to come!  

I would love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

 

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I ran into this article on the internet, read it all, even printed it off for my daughter to read. The responders make a lot of sense. Especially on car dealers and lifetime debt. They simply don't trust the economy enough to make a commitment on a purchase like a car or house. I am 68 years old, a true baby boomer and I am about inclined to agree with them. I was, of course, raised to buy some dirt to live on---BUY it, and build that house. Have a car or truck or SUV or Jeep, or three or four. No cash--no problem, get a loan at the bank or finance or where you want to. Retrospect, it does seem a little foolish to do that. Slavery even? I liked the article, I admire the responders.
BTW: I read it on the Atlantic Website.

  Herb Spencer
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Herb, Thank you for your great feedback! Although I am a GenXer I grew up with similar ideas--especially buying some dirt to live on. I can still hear my father's voice speaking to me on investing in things that will last! lol. Now as I look around at all the "stuff" we have I am beginning to understand and even appreciate some of the Gen Y thinking.

I can only imagine the ideas my children ( 2 and 7 yrs old) will have when they grow up. Yes, there are some great and very detailed articles out there on Gen Y (I have read most of them) including one that was just published in Time Magazine called, The Rental Nation. They are certainly reversing a lot of "our" trends. Thank you again and I hope to hear from you again!

  Maria Lawson
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hi Maria, while I understand this concept and my two children embrace it, I think it does depend upon where one lives. As long as there are subdivisions and soccer and football practice to get to, I believe there will be a need for reliable transportation (unless you live in Hawaii and have beautiful weather all the time!);) I think I was more excited and INSISTENT that my oldest have a car because it was a problem for me to get her everywhere she needed to be! But I agree with Herb in that buying new and investing a lot of money into something that will depreciate as soon as you drive it off the lot is not always the best choice, and my two agree with that 100%. I personally would like to see more bike riders and benefits given to our Residents who can choose this mode of transportation, especially when promoting a Green lifestyle.

  Mindy Sharp
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Mindy, I completely agree that it depends on where you live. I happen to live in the country and not having a vehicle would never be an option for me. However, most Gen Y members would not choose to live where I do. Studies have shown that many of them prefer an urban or "urban lite" environment and I totally understand that. I think the concept is a great one for
those seeking that type of living environment. Benefits for residents who choose to ride a bike and free up a parking space? You just might be onto something.... Thank you as always for your great ideas and insight!

  Maria Lawson

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