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Gen Y Buys More Cars Than Gen X, Boomers Still Lead

Gen Y Buys More Cars Than Gen X, Boomers Still Lead

By Jeff Youngs, August 01, 2014

A recent analysis of retail sales transaction data by the Power Information Network(R) (PIN) from J.D. Power shows that the Boomer generation (born 1946-1964) buys the greatest percentage of new vehicles in the United States, accounting for 38% of all purchases.

However, in 2014, Generation Y (born 1977-1994) surpassed Generation X for the first time, with Gen Y now responsible for 26% of new-vehicle purchases, compared with 24% for Gen X (born 1964-1977).

While sales to both Gen Y and Gen X consumers are on pace to increase in 2014, with sales to Baby Boomers continuing to decrease as an overall percentage of new vehicles sold, growth in sales to members of Gen Y is nearly triple the sales growth to members of Gen X.

"As Gen Y consumers enter new life stages, earn higher incomes and grow their families, their ability and desire to acquire a new vehicle is increasing," said Thomas King, vice president of PIN. "As new-vehicle demand among Gen Y consumers increases, it will be important for automakers to respond to the needs of these consumers, not only in terms of the vehicle design, but also the marketing, sales and service experience."

According to data from PIN, Gen Y currently favors small vehicles, which account for nearly half of new vehicles sold to this cohort of consumers. As King notes, however, Gen Y is earning higher incomes and starting families, which is likely to shift this preference in the future.

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