(BPT) - Whether you're looking for a home, a car, a television or a new jacket, the way we shop has changed drastically over the last five years. While these changes can be tied to competition, technology, a global marketplace and other factors, there’s one big influence often forgotten in the conversation — millennials.
Every year the market shifts further toward millennial tastes as companies try to cater to this influential generation and its ever-growing buying power. How big is that buying power? It’s big — research shows that by 2020, millennials will have a combined buying power totaling more than $31 trillion. That’s enough to shake up any marketplace.
The automotive industry is not removed from the power of millennials. Today’s market looks drastically different than it did five years ago because of their influence. Here are five ways millennials have made an impact:
* They do their homework. Millennials research their options thoroughly online to understand their chosen vehicle’s specs, price points, reviews and financing options before ever going to the dealership or speaking with a human being. This leads to a well-informed audience that is very targeted in what they want to buy.
* They look to technology to find facts quickly. Millennials expect easy access to information and have no interest in going from dealership to dealership. Instead, they use technology like AutoGravity, a car-shopping and financing app that allows them to search for any car, new or used, and get lease or loan offers in minutes. AutoGravity brings lenders, consumers and dealers together quickly so millennials can save hours at the dealership. Car buyers can also calculate their monthly payment and expenses. The AutoGravity app has been downloaded more than 1.4 million times and more than $2 billion in financing has been requested.
* They speak out if things don't match their expectations. Millennials have no time for endless negotiation. If they see the vehicle online, they expect it to be on the lot. And, if a deal exists online, they expect that deal to be upheld in person. Those that have had a poor customer experience are more likely to complain about it through the company’s social media pages. Such criticism can hurt a business, because — according to Adweek — 93 percent of millennials read online reviews.
* They appreciate customer service that goes the extra mile. Millennials enjoy doing their research before interacting with customer service agents, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate those personal exchanges that go above and beyond. Talking to millennial customers through channels they prefer — social media or text — is a surefire way to stand out.
* They bring on the gadgets. In the year 2018, everyone has at least some degree of fondness for gadgets; millennials are right at the forefront. From smartphones to smart homes to tablets and watches, everything is synchronized for an efficient experience. Survey results show that 89 percent of millennials would pay more for a vehicle updated with top-end software. Their passion for technology is fueling the next level of automotive innovation. The growing buying power of millennials is changing markets in every industry. And while millennials may be the driving force, increased technology usage and consumer empowerment benefits members of every generation. Use the tools available to you when making your next big purchase and you won't regret the result.