Baby Boomers in their teens and 20s defined American car culture.
What about Gen Z? Various reports have listed different ages for that group, but those in Gen Z, typically born around the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, will ultimately become synonymous with mobility culture.
A report from Allison+Partners suggests that evolving definitions of transportation, in addition to new mobility services, have resulted in a new culture: the mobility culture.
One finding of the report is that for those in Gen Z, owning a vehicle is less important than it was for previous generations. For Gen Z, cars are more like appliances than they were for any other generation. Fifty-six percent of Gen Z respondents say a car is simply a means of transportation to them.
One reason for that: Technology and transportation have become synonymous. The autonomous technologies trend comes largely from Gen Z’s high trust level with technology. Sixty percent believe they will use autonomous vehicles by 2029.
How should marketers who target this generation adapt to the rise of the mobility culture? Allison+Partners, which compiled the report in January using data from an online survey of 1,035 people in the United States above age 16, says a revamped approach is necessary to gain consumer loyalty and advocacy.
Marketers must reinforce how technology enhances the experience. With consumers conditioned to expect technology innovation at a faster rate than the traditional new vehicle introduction timeline, marketers should stress how technology features enhance the ride experience, contribute to vehicle safety and help bring a future in which transportation options come together.
Those marketers will also have to understand the shift from “me” to “we” and communicate the benefits of a mobility option to communities of people such as in a specific city, rather than just to individual drivers. Marketers will also have to understand which automotive technological advancements excite this group and address concerns about the future of mobility.
Also, marketers must consider new methods to introduce mobility options. Rather than traditional auto shows, marketers must now plan for more “values-based, communal and experiential” introductions to help those consumers experience brand value in a real and authentic way.
Another key finding of the report is that although cars remain key to today’s transportation, a change is taking place in how they are used. About 70 percent of licensed Americans drive their vehicles daily, but 38 percent of those without a driver’s license say they have no need for one.
Among those in Gen Z, however, nearly 70 percent do not have their driver’s license. Of that 70 percent, 30 percent do not intend or want to get one.
“As consumer relationships with cars evolve, automotive and transportation industry marketers must change how they engage with younger audiences, especially Gen Z,” Lisa Rosenberg, co-chair of Allison+Partners’ consumer marketing practice, said in a news release.
“Being headquartered in San Francisco with deep roots in technology, Allison+Partners has been at the forefront of cultural movements since our inception," Rosenberg continued. "We believe that brands that embrace this cultural shift and provide opportunities for consumers to be active participants are the ones that will win with a generation whose favorite currency is social.”
Allison+Partners senior vice president and automotive specialty group lead Marcus Gamo added that with the advent of new technology and mobility solutions, the car itself will change dramatically, but its role in our lives and in culture will also evolve.
“Our automotive practice was born out of an authentic passion for disruptive brands that are redefining mobility, with a deep understanding that the most important attributes of transportation for consumers are trust and loyalty,” Gamo said.