Zipcar’s Annual Millennial Survey Shows the Kids are All Right

Like their elders, youngest generation prioritizes experiences, rejects possessions, gives to the greater good and shares similar vision of the American Dream

Jan 27, 2014

BOSTON – January 27, 2014 - Today, Zipcar, Inc., released its fourth annual independent study which examines Millennials’ (18-34 year olds) evolving attitudes towards transportation, technology, and what’s next in their lives compared to older generations. This year’s survey of more than 1,000 U.S. residents revealed that despite Millennials’ differences in the areas of technology and transportation, they are surprisingly similar to older generations on what they value, how they give to the greater good, and key components of their American Dream.

Millennials are closer to their elders in action and ideology than most people think, including the respondents themselves

New to this year’s survey, Americans were asked to rank the most important piece of their American Dream. Nearly a third (29 percent) of both Millennials and older generations ranked experiences (including travel, restaurants and hobbies), higher than a meaningful job, a dream home or high-end possessions.

Members of all generations were torn between the choice of a dream home in the suburbs or an urban abode, with Millennials (23 percent) being nearly as likely as older counterparts (24 percent) to desire the traditional picket-fenced suburban home. Nearly one in five Millennials (18 percent) say that their American Dream includes a home in the city with easy access to amenities, whereas nearly 30 percent of those older than 55 prefer that option.

On the question of contributing to the greater good, all respondents ranked the three options nearly equally: providing financial support (39 percent), making sustainable lifestyle choices (30 percent), and volunteering (31 percent). In particular, Millennials and Boomers were almost exactly aligned on these options: 36/31 percent on financial support, 32/31 percent on lifestyle and 32/31 percent on volunteering.

Despite the consensus on so many data points, the majority of every age group believes that their American Dream is different from that of their parents, with 70 percent of Millennials holding this belief. There are two areas, however, in which Millennials do tend to think and act differently than older generations: technology and transportation.

Millennials are More Open to Alternative Transportation

While the traditional American Dream may include having a car in the garage, more than half of Millennials (53 percent) claim that high costs of maintenance, parking, and gas make it difficult for them to own a car, while only 35 percent of older generations feel the same. In fact, Zipcar’s survey showed 17 percent of 18-24 year olds don’t even have a license, mirroring data from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute that showed only 22 percent of licensed drivers are twenty-something or teenagers.[1]

In addition, more than 50 percent of Millennials say they would drive less if other transportation options, like public transit and car sharing, were available in their area, with 35 percent reporting that they are actively seeking substitutions for driving, both significantly higher adoption rates than older counterparts.

Despite those numbers, it’s clear that transportation mobile applications still need to reach a tipping point with older audiences, as only 10 percent of Americans indicate that these apps reduce their travel use. However, Millennials (24 percent) are twice as likely to point to these apps (such as Zipcar) as a reason for a decrease in their driving.

Mobile Phones Still Reign as #1 in the Lives of Millennials

As in previous years, the 2013 results show that Millennials continue to rely heavily on their mobile phone. Millennials are the only generation that believes losing their phone would have a greater negative impact on their life than losing their car. Nearly 40 percent of Millennials chose their mobile phone over their car, TV, or computer/tablet compared to only 16 percent of those in the 35+ age bracket. Conversely, a personal vehicle remains most important for older generations by a wide margin, with more than 40 percent of Americans ages 35+ saying it would be harder to lose their a car than a mobile phone, computer/tablet or TV. Only about quarter of Millennials feel the same.

While the mobile phone continues to grow in popularity among all generations, this year’s survey saw a continued decline in the preference of a computer relative to a mobile phone among any generation, especially Millennials, whose preference for a computer dropped 10 percent from last year’s survey. However, four in ten Millennials this year still use online networks to replace driving trips to see friends.

“From driving less, to preferring mp3 over mpg, to valuing experiences over possessions, this generation has a fundamentally different approach to living than their elders,” said Zipcar President Mark Norman. “Yet the data shows that their lifestyle aspirations are similar – a good job, a nice place to live and the ability to enjoy life’s great experiences. It shows the power of the American Dream is not diminished, but rather enhanced, by technology and innovation.”

This study included 1,009 adults, age 18 and over, with 965 licensed drivers. Conducted between Dec. 5 and Dec. 8, 2013, the online study utilized data weighted by the demographic variable to match the national Census. Full study and results can also be viewed at www.slideshare.net/Zipcar_PR/millennials-2013-slide-share.

About Zipcar

Zipcar, the world's leading car sharing network, has operations in urban areas and college campuses throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain and Austria. Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to residents and businesses looking for smart, simple and convenient solutions to their urban and campus transportation needs. Zipcar is a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: CAR), a leading global provider of vehicle rental services. More information is available at www.zipcar.com.

[1] University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Driving Forces, December, 2011

For further information: CJ Himberg Zipcar - Public Relations 617.336.4537 chimberg@zipcar.com

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