Gen Z is Already Buying Cars. Is Your Dealership Ready?

Sales experts, marketing directors, and strategists in every industry are trying to make sense of Generation Z. This group of tech savvy youngsters, born between 1995 and 2010, already make up 20% of the world’s population. They’re the first generation of true digital natives, having grown up in tandem with the internet, social media, and widespread global connectivity. Gen Z is so influential, they even got Doritos to get rid of their logo.

It seems that traditional approaches to sales and marketing won’t work with this generation. Every retailer, regardless of their industry, will need to step their game up in order to stay in Gen Z’s good graces. For the auto industry, that means shifting your sales approach in a number of ways.

Offer your best deals up-front. 

Gen Z is more frugal than previous generations. While this group is too young to remember the details of The Great Recession, they remember its impact and are therefore more mindful of financial issues.  

One important note is that Gen Z knows how to find a good deal. All that internet know-how isn’t just good for posting pictures to Instagram. They will scour the web for prices and special offers, knowing they can always get a better deal. 

Laptop on desk showing car website. Coffee is beside laptop


Experts say that “value” is the key to Gen Z. That means offering a personalized experience at a lower price. They want to avoid debt and are saving for retirement at a younger age than their parents. 

Modernize your website. 

It’s important that you offer Gen Z-ers a great experience online because that’s typically the first place they’ll go to when first starting out on their customer journey. 

Speed it up. A slow website is not only bad for search engine optimization (SEO), but also for your user experience. Kissmetrics showed that 40% of people abandon a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load. 

Design with your user in mind. Go on your website and pretend you’re the consumer. Go through the process of looking at vehicles and deals on your website to figure out where improvements can be made.  

Do all the links go where they’re supposed to? Is your contact information clearly displayed? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself when evaluating your website. 

Mobile-first. A couple of years ago, marketers would have told you to be mobile-friendly, but today it’s all about mobile-first. Increasingly, buyers use their phones to search for information on a product,  but this doesn’t just apply to Gen Z. Across the board, consumers are using their phones to get information.

Illustration of phone with car buying page pulled up

Use video to capture their attention.

It’s no secret that across the web, people prefer visual content. You can connect to Gen Z through video. This group spends 3.4 hours every day watching videos on their phones. 

How great would it be for a potential customer to look up a walkaround video of a 2019 Honda Civic and your dealership pops up? You have the product and a phone. It’s so easy to start to connect with your next customer through video.

Help change the world.

Gen Z is socially conscious and makes decisions on products based on whether the brand’s mission lines up with their values. This creates an opportunity for your dealership to display your engagement within the local community and your brand’s involvement in social causes.

Show off your community involvement and make sure you let them know about all the “green” features your cars have. Adapt quickly to ensure loyalty. Gen Z looks at the company, not just the products they offer. 

Change up your sales process to keep up.


Man standing in middle of room, getting bombard with sales messages. He's not paying attention to them though. He's on his phone.

Improving the customer experience might be the key to unlocking Gen Z’s buying power. 

You want to make the car-buying process as efficient, simple, and personalized as you can. This generation requires a lot of attention before they even get into your showroom because they’ve already done a lot of the work themselves beforehand. As mentioned earlier, they’ve shopped around for deals and know what car they want.

Your goal should be, like for any other customer, to facilitate their journey of finding a car that perfectly fits their needs. However, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work here. Instead, focus on catering to their technological expectations and find a balance between automation and human interaction. 

Mouse arrow hovering over checked box

Implementing new technology into your sales process can ensure your dealership won’t lag behind when it comes to interacting with this new generation of buyers. 

New tools like FunnelAI can help you connect with your customers in a meaningful way and nurture relationships with your existing customers. Gen Z is posting about their search for a new vehicle right now. Our AI-powered sales platform enables you to find those in-market buyers in real-time and start a conversation with them. A tool like this could revolutionize your sales process.  

How do you keep up? With so much change, it’s important that you do not abandon the basics. Superior service and presentation still go a long way in convincing your potential customer to buy your product. Whether it’s automated or manual, dealerships should strive for a true human connection that keeps customers coming back.

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