That Millennials are increasingly shunning car ownership is old news these days, but here’s a surprising fact from those 18-34-year-olds who still have an affinity for the automobile: they’d rather their car was subtracted from their daily routine than their cell phone.
Cambridge-based Zipcar released the findings from an independent study that examined the attitudes and behaviors Millennials hold toward urban transportation, technology and car ownership. In essence, the high cost of car ownership, perceived negative environmental affect and proliferation of popular and efficient car-sharing services are driving many Millennials to opt for car-less living.
The power of the cell phone goes far beyond its ability to order an Uber taxi, though. Of the Millennials surveyed, an impressive 65 percent said losing their phone (30 percent) or computer (35 percent) would have a greater negative impact on their daily routine than losing their car.
“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 … [that] 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.”
The third annual Millennials study surveyed over a thousand adults, though it seems likely that coming from Zipcar, the sample could have had a predisposition toward car-sharing and other alternatives to auto ownership.
Still, this seems to be yet another nail in the coffin of an automotive industry desperate to appeal to young drivers, especially as the economy warms and disposable incomes begin to rise enough to warrant more car purchases.
“Mobility has defined new expectations for Millennials,” said Jonathan Yarmis, Principal Analyst at Yarmis Group, in a release. “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.”
It used to be that the car was the definition of on-demand mobility — a personal, peaceful chariot awaiting your every transportation desire. But now — and especially in clogged cities like Boston — there’s traffic to consider, and ballooning gas prices, and the high cost of entry to enjoy the benefits of electric vehicles.
And even if you decide to drive to Back Bay for the afternoon, where are you supposed to park?