“Generation Z”, sounds like a documentary funded by Nissan doesn’t it? But it refers to anyone born from 1995 to present. Adios Millenials, and your supposed disdain for cars. I was reading a recent article, and accompanying infographic, on Adweek, and I got to thinking, will Gen Z be car enthusiasts? I think yes, and here’s why.
First, and perhaps most importantly, members of this generation are entrepreneurs and do-it-yourself’ers, they spend more time online looking at how-to videos and online lessons than average. Growing up in a post-9/11 era, and experiencing a recession, they learned that traditional choices and paths, like college, do not guarantee success. They are (assessed to be) driven workers and, according to the infographic, 76% want their hobbies to become their full-time job. This is the type of mindset that creates places like Local Motors, Singer, etc..
They are also more ensconced in social media than previous generations, that includes crowdsourcing and virtual collaboration, both of which can facilitate a motivated car enthusiast’s project. Whether its something like the aforementioned Local Motors, and their crowdsourcing call for a sports car design, or simply using YouTube to figure out how to install a short shifter in your GTI, Z could use the internet to its fullest potential in order to build something special. They are supposedly more mature, self-directed, and resourceful which lends itself to car modification and innovation. Perhaps we’ll get a few more Tesla-like companies out of the deal.
According to Sparks & Honey, they will have a disposable income, even as kids. This large group of our population is estimated to have $44 Billion a year in cash to spend and are eager to start working full-time to make even more. One of my favorite aspects of Z is the overall mindset of “build it” or “go after it” vs. an entitled “well I should just get it” which many Millenials are accused of having.
All this seems very optimistic, and I’ll admit, I’ll believe it when I see it. This is also a group of go-getters that may actually make the autonomous car a reality. This could be good or bad for enthusiasts. You know where we stand on that. But regardless, the concepts seem solid, and if automakers and aftermarket companies can successfully reach this group, we may have some hope for the enthusiast community after all.