A majority of new car buyers say their experience at a car dealership was highly influential in their purchase decision, says a report, but more importantly for dealers, the showroom experience was just as powerful — and increasingly so — among younger buyers.
"After years of increasing domination by (baby) boomers, the millennials are finally returning to the new car market," says Chris Stommel, president of Foresight Research in Rochester Hills, which conducted the study. "While they are certainly digital-savvy buyers overall, for more than half of them this is their first new car purchase and they are just as reliant on dealers as older buyers."
Stommel says during the 2013 sales year, just over half of 18- to 34-year-olds say they were influenced by the dealership experience, and that number jumped to more than 60 percent in 2014.
Stommel says millennials value a comfortable environment for browsing and shopping, and are concerned with price, value, and financing. He says they make use of digital tools such as a dealer's website or online reviews to choose a dealership.
"Much more so than boomers, millennials are open to online or 'on-my-own-time' options like virtual showrooms and online price negotiation," Stommel says. "…as (millennials) continue to be a larger portion of new auto buying customers, their preferences will dictate what makes a robust dealership."
To view the full report, click here.