Millennials depend more on phones than cars

'Take my car, don't touch my phone.'

March 4, 2013
by CAR staff

CAMBRIDGE, MA—A recent US study finds the increasing availability of on-demand mobility services (such as car sharing, ride sharing and vehicle sharing) helps many Millennials drive less and makes it easier to for them to live without owning a car.

“Mobility has defined new expectations for Millennials.”

The independent study of Millennials (18-34-year-olds), conducted in December 2012 by KRC Research and release by Zipcar Inc, examined the attitudes and behaviors of this generation related to urban transportation, technology and car ownership. It found mobile devices and on-demand transportation apps are more important to Millennials than car ownership.

  • Nearly two in three (65 percent) of Millennials say losing their phone (30 percent) or computer (35 percent) would have a greater negative impact on their daily routine than losing their car (28 percent).
  • One in four Millennials (25 percent) say transportation apps have reduced their driving frequency, compared to less than 12 percent of those 45+.

Some say Millennials are too stressed out to take time for themselves these days. The survey indicates that they’re simply savvy and taking advantage of technology and convenience:

  • Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of Millennials would rather shop online than drive or ride public transit to the store.
  • Nearly half (47 percent) of Millennials sometimes choose to spend time with friends online instead of driving to see them in person.

“We’re living through the most important shift in transportation in generations—the creation of a new mobility society. Soon we’ll live in major metropolitan areas that include networks of ubiquitous, mobile-app powered on-demand mobility services.  These mobility networks will enable connected consumers to pick the best mode of transportation for each trip, in real-time,” said Scott Griffith, Zipcar chairman and CEO. “Millennials are leading the charge for this highly efficient new model that is revolutionizing how people get around.”

In addition to the influence of technology and availability of alternatives discussed above, the study found that more traditional influences—like the high cost of car ownership and environmental concerns associated with excessive driving—are compelling many Millennials to drive less.

“Mobility has defined new expectations for Millennials,” said Jonathan Yarmis, Principal Analyst at Yarmis Group. “They are used to getting what they want, when they want it and mobility solutions are changing the way they decide how to get from one place to another.  Having transportation services on-demand is becoming essential to serve the expectations of this new generation.”

The third annual Millennials study included 1,015 adults in the US, age 18 and over, with 980 licensed drivers between December 6 and December 9, 2012. Full study and results can also be viewed here.