Many recent studies point out that Millennials are driving less than previous generations. With the decline in automobile ownership among this generation, we wanted to dig deeper to provide the latest insights on Millennials and transportation to illustrate what really matters most to them when it comes to shopping for and purchasing a vehicle.

Among current Millennial car owners, the majority (82%) purchased their current vehicle. Thirteen percent received their vehicle as a gift, and five percent are leasing. Just over half of purchasers (54%) bought a used vehicle, while 46 percent bought a new car.

Breaking it down even further, Millennials were split down the middle with 51 percent financing their car and 49 percent paying with a single payment.

One of the biggest takeaways from our research indicated that despite Millennials’ tech-savvy nature (and their shift toward online shopping), the vast majority still purchase vehicles from dealerships and intend to keep doing so. Among those purchasing new cars (as opposed to used), 96 percent purchased or leased from a dealership. Just 3 percent purchased from a website; the remaining one percent said other. Even among those purchasing used cars, 44 percent went to a dealership, and 28 percent purchased from a family member or friend. Just 4 percent bought their car from a website like AutoTrader or

What’s more, Millennials plan to keep relying on dealerships over websites for future purchases. Seventy-seven percent said they plan to buy or lease from a dealership when they make their next vehicle purchase, while just five percent plan to buy online from an auto website (i.e., AutoTrader).

The study also revealed key differences between older Millennials (ages 25-34) and younger Millennials (ages 18-24). Overall, Millennials are enthusiastic about green alternatives, with 75% interested in purchasing or leasing a hybrid car and 66% interested in a plug-in electric car.

A complete topline report is available for download on the Lab42 website.


This survey was conducted among 500 American adult Millennials between the ages 18 and 34 from March 28-30, 2014. Initially, survey participants were asked about what types of vehicles they own including cars, SUVs and motorcycles/bikes. Eighty-seven percent of Millennials owned a passenger vehicle and were asked follow-up questions to understand more about their purchase decisions, car maintenance behavior, monthly spending, technology preferences and future car purchasing plans. Data for those with a passenger vehicle was analyzed by gender identity, age, relationship status, and status of the car at time of purchase (new versus used).

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