Gen Z Is Car Shopping Now – What Do They Want?

The good news in all of this is that the fears that automobiles would die out due to a lack of interest by younger buyers can be forgotten.

A new poll shows that not only is Gen Z more interested in cars than their Millennial predecessors, but they have specific requirements when shopping for one.

The good news in all of this is that the fears that automobiles would die out due to a lack of interest by younger buyers can be forgotten. Unlike Millennials, who were avoiding both getting driver’s licenses and buying vehicles, the latest adults (Gen Z) are doing the opposite.

The poll (conducted by OnePoll) of 4,000 U.S. adults was split split evenly amongst four generations (Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z). A very large percentage of Gen Z buyers (76 percent) reported buying their first car before the age of 21. That’s a big jump from the barely 56 percent of Millennials who can say the same.

Most Gen Z buyers are more confident about pricing when compared to other generations of Americans. And Gen Z buyers are more likely to consider price as top priority, unlike other generations who are often more focused on other common considerations like safety, longevity/reliability, etc.

Most of the Gen Z buyers polled bought their current vehicle from a dealership or pre-ordered it through one. Nearly all of them thought that being in physical contact with the vehicle before purchase was extremely important to their buying decision. Even if they didn’t buy the one they test drove. Most Gen Z’ers did little or no online shopping, doing so at about half the rate of Millennials. Instead, they researched heavily online and then went to the dealership to find one in person. Most are taking about twice the time to research and purchase as compared to other generations.

Other findings of the survey are also interesting, especially the number of Gen Z buyers who go to dealerships as part of the research process and who have friends or expert relatives look at vehicles with them. Financial issues not related to pricing were also big issues with Gen Z buyers, especially financing and approvals. Most of all, Gen Z wants to fill both practical need and personal wants when purchasing.

Reading all of the results of the poll is worth the time if you’re interested in how the future of automotive might go.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at