Car Buying Trends for Gen Z

Generation Z car buyers at dealership

With the rise of online shopping and the influence of web and social media on the car-buying process, it’s easy to think that younger, tech-savvy generations are more inclined to shop for and even purchase their vehicles online. While that assumption isn’t far-fetched, a recent study from Urban Science suggests otherwise.


Visiting the Car Dealership

After surveying 2,000 car shoppers and 200 dealers in February of last year, Urban Science found that Generation Z (people born between 1997 and 2012) and younger millennials (adults in their mid- to late twenties) visited the highest number of brick-and-mortar dealerships compared to older millennials, Generation X and baby boomers. The study did a breakdown of the average number of brick-and-mortar dealership visits for each generation:

  • 3.8 stores for Gen Z and younger millennials

  • 2.6 for older millennials

  • 2.4 for Generation X

  • 2.1 for baby boomers


Characteristics of Gen Z Car Buyers

Since Gen Z grew up on the Internet, they’re more comfortable researching and making decisions on their own based on what they discover. So when it comes to making purchase decisions, Gen Z is far more independent than previous generations were at the same age.

According to Automotive News, Gen Z is more educated about the market than young car buyers 10 to 15 years ago. Even while Gen Z car buyers are at your dealership looking at a vehicle they’re interested in, they are on their phones, researching other vehicles (and other dealerships), according to Below are a few other key characteristics that car dealers should note when working with Gen Z car buyers:


  1. They’re hungry for information.

    As we mentioned earlier, Gen Z is very Internet and research-savvy, which means they are always looking for information. The more helpful content you produce on your website and/or blog that guides Gen Z car buyers along their car-buying journey, the more likely you are to attract them to your dealership to make a car purchase.

  2. They’re more practical with their money.

    After years of witnessing their older siblings and parents swimming in debt, Gen Z is hesitant to buy new vehicles and take on more debt, according to In fact, LendingTree reported in December 2018 that only 36 percent of Gen Z-ers had an auto loan. Since Gen Z car buyers look for more practical used vehicles that get good gas mileage and have modern technology features (according to Automotive News), car dealers may want to focus on building their used inventory.

  3. They’re not tied to a particular brand.

    According to Spectrum Reach, Gen Z car buyers care more about having a positive customer experience than brand loyalty. This gives car dealers the opportunity to be a resource in the Gen Z consumer’s journey and think about how you can make their car-buying experience an exceptional one.

Another important thing to note about Gen Z car buyers is that many of them don’t have credit history established, since they are just graduating from college and entering the workforce. By enrolling in the Credit Acceptance auto finance program, your dealership will have the ability to approve every customer, regardless of credit history.

Simply fill out the form on our website to learn more about becoming an enrolled car dealer in our program!