The latest study by GfK and the Consumer Electronics Association offers new information that goes beyond what automakers came to terms with long ago, which was that Generation Y car buyers want connectivity in their vehicles more than any other feature. Mere connectivity isn’t enough anymore; young consumers are the most willing of all buyers to try and to pay more for the option of trying the latest and greatest new technology.
Young consumers have proven to be early adopters of the latest technology, and car makers are considering placing more of the newest tech toys in the least expensive models offered in order to attract them. The thought is that the adoption of the new technology will bubble up to older consumers in the same way smartphones and other technology has. This goes against the traditional practice of the newest tech options in only the highest end models, then eventually lower the costs as the options become more widely adopted.
“Younger people tend to be technology adopters, but the industry typically has started with higher priced vehciles and then come down,” says senior VP for GfK Jeff Campana. “But if you think about other fields, such as smartphones and tablets, that all actually started with young people. They’re the technology leaders.” He also pointed out that this sector of the population also has higher percentages of unemployment and joblessness. At the same time, the GfK study shows that they are still more willing than older consumers to dedicate a larger portion of their budgets for high tech features that excite and interest them.
Millennials interests range far beyond connectivity. They are also the consumers that show the highest interest in safety technology in new cars, such as new systems that monitor vital signs, keep drivers awake and massage the occupants to prevent muscle fatigue. Other systems include new air filtration and enhancement technology. Young consumers are also much more interested in new technology that benefits the passengers in the cars as well, such as adjustable seats for all occupants. They are more likely to be passengers in vehicles than their older counterparts, so they are more sensitive to issues such as the inability for back seat passengers to make seat adjustments, play games on a tablet and charge their smartphones.
Campana says, “It’s about being able to do things while you’re in the car. When they get in a car now as a passenger, it’s dead time to them.”