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Putting Canadian Millennials behind the wheel: think outside the showroom to reach this growing generation

Posted by Ashley Karr on April 12, 2019

Meet the Canadian Millennial – probably older than you think, quite possibly a hard-working parent, and with enough obligations to need a vehicle.

According to a survey by Canada Post, a good 33 per cent of Millennials have young families. They’re raising kids, with careers in full swing, and buying homes. That means they’re ripe prospects for car-buying.

Canadian car industry guru Dennis DesRosiers proposes, if you crunch the numbers, it would be impossible for Millennials not to buy cars. DesRosiers finds that car ownership in Canada has “exploded” over the last 17 years, currently standing at 87 per cent. He also notes that the number of the youngest cohort of drivers (under 16) has grown from 48.1 per cent to 54.6 per cent during that same timeframe. And the next two youngest cohorts (16 to 19, 20 to 24) have not declined. “Get them while they’re young and you might have a customer for life,” advises DesRosiers.

So how do dealers capture this growing market segment?

They’re obsessed with their phones

It’s anything but business as usual as Millennials are disrupting the entire retail sector. According to Google, they check their phones ten times an hour on average. This generation even sleeps with their phones – 95 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds check their phone just before they go to bed, while 90 per cent actually sleep with their phones.

As expected, Millennials are also heavy social media users, with 88 per cent having some kind of profile. 55 per cent turn to social media as their primary source for shopping, news, and information, with 62 per cent saying they are more likely to become loyal customers to brands that engage with them on social networks.

And we already know about the Millennial love affair with selfies, so it’s no surprise that they like to see pictures of vehicles. In a recent survey of an 18 to 34 year old demographic, 90 per cent said it was very important of them to see photos of the actual on-hand vehicle. They also love video, spending more time on YouTube than anyone else.

But what does that mean for car dealers? There’s an increase of experiential-focused dealerships centring on lifestyle and new technology to engage this buyer. Millennials are online doing their research and comparisons before setting foot in a dealership. It’s important to monitor all social media pages regularly since this generation will ask questions through Facebook and Twitter.

This generation enjoys negotiation

Just how much time do Millennials spend online? Approximately 17.6 hours, reading reviews, getting educated about different aspects of a vehicle, in the comfort and convenience of their own space. Making a decision without pressure or hassle is important to them, and that starts online.

They would prefer to interact with a dealership before actually visiting in person. 65 per cent agreed, or strongly agreed, that they would like to initially engage with a dealer through email, text, phone, web form, etc.—and 82 per cent wanted their questions answered right away.

When a Millennial shows up at your dealership, be prepared to negotiate, as 54 per cent say they enjoy negotiating. And you’ll know when they’re coming, as 40 per cent say they’re unlikely to visit you without contacting you in advance.

And although they enjoy car shopping, they want an easy, friendly experience that they can Twitter and Instagram about. That’s got to be to your advantage!

Topics: Marketing tips, millennials