Millennials and cars: New vision and approach of the “sharing and technological generation”.

Mercoledì, 16 Settembre 2015

For decades sociologists, advertisers and marketers classify generations. Nowadays teenagers are called “Millennials” (this category refers to whom who were born between 1990-2000).

Millennials are quite different from previous generations, because they live in a world that is changing faster than in the past.Their behaviours, dreams, attitudes and everyday life are closely related to these changes.
Millennials are not dreaming of owning a car as their parents did when they were teenagers.The car is not a symbol of freedom and emancipation neither signifies the transition from youth to adulthood. And it is not a status symbol anymore (1) .
Millennials can live without a car, but NOT without a smartphone.

As Nielsen research says, referring to the US Millennials: “…in the second-quarter 2014, 85% of Millennials aged 18-24, and  86% aged 25-34 own mobile devices” (2)
“Millennials are going to wreak havoc on the U.S. economy and housing market as they eschew ownership of homes, cars and anything else that does not fit into a backpack.” (3) Even if this is not a universal truch, it is necessary to take in consideration some of usual behaviours of Millennials:  being connected night and day trough smartphone; using smartphone and digital devices for studying, shopping, finding information, buying tickets for concerts, planes, trains, ships, booking hotels, B&B, restaurants, car sharing’s vehicles; sharing everything.
Sharing everything is quite normal for teenagers nowadays. They are growing up in a “Zero Marginal Cost Society” (4).
“Millions of people are using social media sites, redistribution networks, rentals and cooperatives to share not only cars but also homes, clothes, tools, toys and other items at low or near zero marginal cost. The sharing economy had projected revenues of $3.5 billion in 2013. (…)1.7 million people globally are members of car-sharing services. (…) 25 years from now, car sharing will be the norm, and car ownership an anomaly.(5)

The report  “Millennials in Motion – Changing Travel Habits of Young Americans and the Implications for Public Policy” (6)  by US PIRG shows interesting findings about Millennials and cars.“Census data shows that the share of 16 to 24 year-olds travelling to work by car declined by 1.5 percentage points between 2006 and 2013, while the share of young people getting to work by public transportation, on foot or by bicycle, or else working from home, had increased.”

Millennials consistently report greater attraction to less driving-intensive lifestyles — urban living, residence in “walkable” communities, and openness to the use of non-driving modes of transport — than older generations.
"The report confirms that attracting and keeping young residents and talented workers requires investment in a comprehensive transportation system that offers a wide range of options for walking, biking, transit and getting around by vehicle,” said James Corless, Executive Director of Transportation for America. “We urge Congress to update our national transportation program to reflect changing needs in our economy and in local communities”. (7)
As in the US, European Countries are also reflecting on mobility policies and habits and the importance of promoting a multi modal mobility approach and more sustainable mobility habits.
Car sharing, bike sharing, scooter sharing, public transport and e-mobility are interesting relevant options.

1) Wells, P. E. and Xenias, D. (2015). From 'freedom of the open road' to 'cocooning': Understanding resistance to change in personal private automobility. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions (10.1016/j.eist.2015.02.001)
4) Jeremy Rifkin - “The Zero Marginal Cost Society”