New GfK research on auto buyers reveals stark generational differences
New York, NY (September 20, 2012) – With Baby Boomers giving way to Generations X and Y as the dominant forces in the car buyer market, smaller models are enjoying renewed popularity – but for reasons that might seem counterintuitive. Today’s youngest car shoppers are focused less on excellent gas mileage than the availability of high-tech features and a sense of excitement. New GfK research shows that Generations X and Y now represent 63% of new vehicle “intenders” – those who plan to buy a car in the next 12 months. Compared to 2008, the Generation Y group has grown by half, from 16% to 24% of all intenders, while Generation X remained steady at 39%. Looking just at small cars, the GfK study found that 29% of Gen Y consumers are small car intenders, versus 19% of Generation X and 19% of Baby Boomers. To read a fuller description of the data and see key charts, click here. “If manufacturers are going to capture the hearts and wallets of this growing generation of younger consumers, they’ll need to develop vehicles that appeal to their tastes and preferences,” said Jeff Campana, Senior Vice President at GfK Automotive. “Our research shows that these preferences play a key role in determining which vehicles will be considered.” Analysis of the findings reveals that, in some cases, the oldest and youngest groups of small-car intenders have very different priorities. While both Generation Y and Baby Boomers rank “Dependable” and “Proud to Own” near the tops of their lists, “Exciting” is #7 for Gen Y, versus #21 for Boomers; and “Technologically Advanced Features” ranks at #12 for Generation Y, compared to #22 for Boomers. By contrast, qualities associated with comfort and handling barely make the younger generation’s radar; “Excellent Ride,” for example, is near the top of the Baby Boomer’s rankings, at #8, but sinks to #17 with Gen Y. “Excellent Gas Mileage” ranks at #11 for Boomers, compared to #13 for Gen Y. The new GfK Automotive study of small car buyers and intenders was authored by GfK research experts Mike Michalak and Zack Krelle. For nearly 30 years, GfK Automotive has been the preeminent provider of product, brand and consumer research and consulting to the global automotive industry. Counting most major Asian, European and North America car makers among its client base, GfK Automotive research consultants deliver integrated information and insights to the automotive community. For more information about GfK Automotive research, contact Campana at firstname.lastname@example.org.