Millennials are bucking the stereotype that women are damsels in distress and men are confident decisionmakers, according to new research from Edmunds.com.
According to the firm’s Car Shopping and Gender Report, which studied 3,000 U.S. adults age 18-65, more than 70% of both men and women feel self-assured during the car-buying and negotiation process. However, when millennial consumers were asked if women are equal or better than men when it comes to car shopping, 64% of millennial women and 54% of millennial men agreed. The opinion gap was nearly twice as large when baby boomers were asked the same question, with 67% of women and only 48% of men agreeing.
“The world where millennials grew up was very different than that of older generations. For many, both parents worked and financial decisions were made equally, which is reflected in their different attitudes about gender roles in car shopping,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analytics at Edmunds. “Millennials are poised to become the predominate consumption group in the automotive industry, making it key that automakers, dealers and marketers understand how their perceptions are changing the way consumers approach car buying.”
Millennial men are also more likely than older men to believe women are equally or more logical than men during the car-shopping process, according to the study. The opinion gap was 15 percentage points among millennial consumers vs. 27-point gap for Generation Xers.
Results of the study also showed that millennial men and women feel nearly equal levels of self-assurance and empowerment during the car-shopping process. Millennial men are also more confident in women to close the deal than older generations.
However, even as the opinion gap narrows by generation, Edmunds noted, there are differences that point to the need for dealers to personalize the experience. For instance, while more women feel assured they made the right purchase than men (80% vs. 75%), 30% of female respondents said they didn’t know where to start the car-shopping process. In contrast, only 18% of men weren’t sure where to start the process.
Additionally, 67% of all women wish there was a faster, more efficient way to shop for a car, compared to 57% of all men.
“Gender inequality has been in our society for a very long time,” said Lacey Plache, chief economist at Edmunds. “Shifting gender roles have been a main catalyst for lowering gender inequality, but this change is still in motion and the differences aren’t fully dissolved. As this continues to decrease on a societal level, we’ll see it impact manifested in major industries like automotive, but until gender inequality is completely gone, the old fashion notion that men control the garage will still linger.”