The "Millennial" generation - those born roughly between 1980 and 2004, has been the focus of much speculation for the automobile industry and those surrounding it. Some believed this generation would forego car ownership almost completely, in favour of ride-sharing services like Uber. Also, some feared that when this generation did buy cars, luxury and performance vehicles might lose their stature with this demographic in favour of more environmentally-friendly electric or hybrid transportation.
It turns out, however, that while this generation may delay their vehicle purchases, they're still interested in cars. A 2016 J.D. Power's Power Information Network study reported that the share of millennials in the new-car market jumped 28 percent. And there may not be need for concern about demographic changes within the prestige car auction market, either. Take the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, held yearly in Scottsdale, Arizona in the United States and attended by collectors worldwide. In 2015, the top-selling car was a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder with an 887-horsepower engine that sold for $1.8 million USD. The buyer was a real-estate developer in his 30's. It's also worth noting that, true to the Millennial stereotype, he wanted the instant gratification of driving it the very next day.
This year? This Ferrari belonging to pop star Justin Bieber (photo source: AZCentral.com) was auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson. As McKeel Hagerty, the CEO of Hagerty Insurance Agency, which insures more than a million collector cars worldwide, told AZCentral: "Generations move on, and it's not the Baby Boomer car market anymore." Hagerty has seen a 21% increase in insurance quotes requested by Millennials in the last year, far outpacing the growth in any other age group.
Will this millennial generation continue to expect more technological advances in vehicle features, like connected cars, autonomous vehicles and enhanced infotainment options, in the future? It seems likely - yet it also seems likely that prestige vehicles won't lose their stature with this demographic as their careers advance, and these markets become accessible to them. It is important for those in our market to understand that this generation will likely fuse traditional passions for all things automotive with their demands for modern technology, and to provide them with modern tools for searching for, viewing and bidding on prestige cars so their transactions in this arena are as seamless as they are in any other part of the Millennial world.