MillennialsThe majority of Millennial car shoppers on car shopping site Cars.com want to purchase a vehicle under $20,0001, and they’re more likely to use a smartphone to comparison shop dealerships than older consumers2. According to new research commissioned by Cars.com, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Millennials (shoppers ages 18-34) use a smartphone to conduct research prior to visiting a dealership, performing a wide variety of mobile research tasks, including reading online reviews and accessing information about vehicle payments and offers. Moreover, of Millennials age 21 to 24, the group most commonly associated with recent college graduation, approximately 70 percent prefer to spend less than $20,000 on a vehicle.

“As recent graduates begin their careers and consider purchasing a new car, the majority will focus on affordability first and foremost,” said Jesse Toprak, chief analyst for Cars.com. “Millennials know they have options, and they rely on their smartphones more than any other generation to make sure they’re getting the best deal they can while on the lot. Retailers would be wise to take note and prepare to work with this well-informed, tech-savvy group of car buyers.”

Additional findings include:

  • Approximately 70% of Millennials aged 21-24 shopping on Cars.com are looking for a vehicle under $20,000
  • Approximately 55% of Millennials aged 21-35 shopping on Cars.com are looking for a vehicle under $20,000
  • Millennials are more likely than those 35+ to visit an additional dealership due to finding a better priced vehicle nearby
  • Millennials are more likely to perform a wide variety of research tasks on the lot than shoppers 35+
  • Almost two-thirds (65%) of Millennials (age 18-34) use a smartphone for research prior to a dealer visit

“Compact car segment is the top choice for the Millennials as the models in this category nicely fit the needs of the first-time buyers with their low cost of ownership and increasingly seamless integration of digital lives to the built-in infotainment systems,” added Toprak.

As new Millennials enter the workforce, their priorities in purchasing a vehicle are heavily weighted by price and functionality. The following is a list of top-selling new vehicles – based on year-to-date sales – that fall within the $20,000 price range.

Millennial top selling
*Vehicles price range falls within $20,000
1 Cars.com Brand Tracker, 2014
2 Placed Inc., 2014