The Millennials make 8% fewer trips than the older generations
Understanding how millennials act has practical implications for city planning, industry development, and climate change. If millennials choose to use Lyft instead of driving or parking, it could mean major changes in the automotive industry. If their suburban soccer mom phase is only delayed and not skipped, then nothing will change.
We are scholars in business and sustainability. Our research shows that millennials drive 8% less compared to older generations.
The Millennium Meh
Recently, we conducted a survey in which 40 millennials were interviewed to find out how they feel about driving.
A quote summarized the typical reaction. “I have considered buying a car in the past, especially while I was at college.” Now it’s just like, meh… it doesn’t even sound appealing.
We surveyed 2,225 American adults to determine if the attitudes expressed were representative. Millennials make 8% fewer trips per week than Gen X or baby boomers.
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This difference is still evident when demographics are taken into account, showing that millennial behavior does not only come from being young, single, and having a low income. What distinguishes the millennials is their attitude.
The Millennial generation is more environmentally friendly than older generations, and they are less likely to think that driving provides them with independence. They also view driving as being more dangerous and prefer a mode of travel that allows them to exercise, read, or use social networks.
It is impossible to say if the differences between millennials and older generations will continue. However, we know that millennials were shaped by common shocks such as 9/11 and the Great Recession. They are also the first “digital natives.”
The coronavirus is a major factor.
In May 2020, auto sales were down by 33% from the year before. Continued calls for social distancing that makes riding public transportation or using ride-hailing applications less desirable could lead to a rebound in auto sales.
The COVID-19 question that most concerns us is whether millennials are more likely to buy social distance when they move from city apartments to detached homes in the suburbs.
Millennials may be less likely to go on a shopping spree because they are more able to work from home and also may be more susceptible to losing their jobs. The infamous millennial “meh” may be hard to overcome.