Tire and Automotive Repair Consumer Trends: Be Ready for Millennial Customers!
Millennials, also sometimes referred to as "Generation Y", are defined as people born between 1982 and 2000. By 2020, this population segment will represent 36% of all American adults. Combined, millennials have over 1 trillion dollars in buying power. While there is a common misperception that millennials represent the generation with no interest in vehicle ownership due to their reliance on ride-sharing services and mass transportation in urban areas, millennials represented 29% of the current automotive market; purchasing 4.1 million vehicles in 2016. That number is only expected to increase, and J.D. Power & Associates now estimates that by 2020, millennials will represent 40% of the auto market.
Given the expanding number of millennials purchasing vehicles, automotive aftermarket businesses can also anticipate a continued increase in millennial customers. With more millennials choosing to buy rather than lease vehicles, their expectation and intention is to keep vehicles longer than lease periods, requiring more maintenance across their vehicle ownership lifecycle. However, simply offering the services needed by millennial consumers will not be enough to attract their business. To capture the attention of that demographic, businesses will need to give specific thought to the millennial consumer, and ensure that their marketing strategies are in-line with their preferences.
Ensure that your website is fully responsive.
89% of millennials report that smartphones are their dominant method of connecting to the internet. In an age of online shopping for everything---including automotive service and tires, the internet is the new yellow pages. However, given the magnitude of millennials using mobile devices as their dominant means of accessing the internet, having your business website perform effectively on mobile devices is key to success. Consumers today have virtually endless options in the digital space. If your website is not mobile friendly, you will be passed over by millennial consumers online.
Consider using technology platforms to drive millennial engagement online.
Having a responsive website is the first step. However, consider options available to further enhance your customer's online experience. For example, US AutoForce offers its "TiresAnytime" widget which can be placed on a dealer website to enable online tire shopping 24/7. Millennials, who have grown up in an internet era, are highly technologically savvy and apt to engage tech tools online. By virtue of adding supplementary options for consumers visiting you online, you maximize the probability of millennial customer engagement.
While social media is by no means a medium solely engaged by young people, there is no doubt that millennials utilize social media in overwhelming numbers. 90% of millennials use social media, and one third of millennials say that social media is their preferred channel of communicating with businesses. If you have not yet entered the social arena for your business, don't wait! Set up business pages, develop a content strategy, and go social! Don't be afraid to start small…posting only a few times a week on even one social platform will begin to establish a presence in the social space and help you connect with millennial consumers engaging the medium. Best of all, unlike other advertising methods, business social media can be initiated at no cost other than your own time.
The prevalence of the millennial consumer is no longer deniable by businesses in any industry. As you plan your marketing for your tire business or automotive repair shop, give specific thought to the millennial consumer. By developing specific strategies to target this population segment, you will lay the foundation for ongoing business success as Generation Y becomes a greater segment of the total automotive aftermarket audience.