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How Boomers and Millennials are Shaping the Future of Car Ownership

Apr 13, 2017

One of the biggest questions of the future falls upon the popularity of private car ownership, which has been at the heart of North American society for generations. We are now seeing this trend regressing more and more as the shared mobility sector grows. We recently read this article which sheds light upon demographic shifts shaping the future of car ownership.

Boomers are Heading to the Cities

The generation that is so accustomed to private car ownership, which accounted for two-thirds of the car sales in the United States in 2011, is now heading to the cities instead of more often thought of retirement communities. This is resulting in the likelihood of a decrease in car ownership from this auto-loving generation, and an increase in their contribution to the sharing economy as a whole.

For boomers who do choose to keep their personal cars when they relocate to the city, ride-hailing services like Uber offer a valuable source of income that can supplement retirement savings. A 2015 Uber study found that nearly a quarter of its drivers were older than 50. 

It is projected that a good portion of boomers who are moving into urban centres will get rid of their personal vehicles altogether, though, since it’s becoming more convenient to not have a car.

“Car ownership is viewed more as a hassle than an entitlement.” – Paul Eisenstein, publisher of The Detroit Bureau

Where the tech involved in car sharing and ride-hailing may be seen to deter boomers from using the services, studies prove otherwise. A recent Zipcar study supports his view: 69% of urban boomers surveyed said mobile apps make their lives easier, and 81% were users of Facebook.

Millennials are Far Less Interested in Car Ownership

With so many other options available, personal car ownership has not appealed nearly as much to Millennials as it did to their parents.

“They’re living in cities more frequently than their parents,” Sam Abuelsamid, a senior research analyst at Navigant Research, says, adding that millennials have “a more flexible lifestyle enabled by technology” and “don’t have the need or the desire to own a car, even though they increasingly have the financial ability.” 

Having a much more ambivalent relationship with cars and personal car ownership than the generation before, Millennials are more likely to live in urban centres and rely on shared mobility and public transportation services than any other generation.

Simply put: the closer any generation is living to urban city centres, the less a convenience a personal car becomes. With so many other options available, increased traffic, and a lack of parking, owning a personal vehicle becomes more of a hassle the closer you live to your urban centre.

Read the full article here.

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