Millennials or the Gen Y age group are often the children of Baby Boomers.
Sometimes called Echo Boomers, no one can say precisely where the cut-off dates are for this age group, but it is generally accepted they range from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s to early 2000s, after which it’s the turn of Generation Z (another story).
American sociologist Kathleen Shaputis has labelled Millennials as the Boomerang Generation or Peter Pan generation.
This is because they tend to delay some rites of passage into adulthood, such as moving out of home, getting their driver’s licence, and putting off higher education or getting full-time paid employment.
As a group however one thing Millennials have in common is an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies.
While they began listening to music on radio-cassette players, their favourite music is now all stored in the cloud.
No driver’s licence means no need for a car, but surprisingly Millennials still make up 12 per cent of car buyers and it is not surprising that one of the main things they look for is connectivity.
Connectivity, the sound system and infotainment equipment are crucial features in the decision-making process for one out of three.
But, like most people, above all it’s still design or look of the car, that is most important.
For 40 per cent of buyers aged between 25 and 37, the lines of a car are the main reason for buying, while half have a preference for sporty hatches like that pictured.
SUVs are also popular for 20 per cent of them — a figure that increases with age.
Research shows that a third of buyers under 30 consider the car to be an expression of their personality and wants it to reflect their individual style.
However, only one out every five is able to afford to buy a car with their savings.
As the digital generation, Millennials tend to carry out extensive research on the Internet before making a decision.
In fact, it takes an average of nine weeks for them to decide, because they like to take their time, get all the information available and are generally less experienced when it comes to the purchase process.
Web pages and car reviews make up 50 per cent and 24 per cent of their main sources of information.
One difference that sets Millennials apart from their predecessors however is that recommendations from friends and family play an important role.
Before making a purchase, 23 per cent seek advice from their inner circle, a figure that reduces to 13 per cent for those over 40.
Millennials are also the first generation to show an interest in new forms of mobility such as car sharing.
For example, 26 per cent of drivers aged 25 to 37 contemplate sharing their car with other users.
Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.