TransitScreen Blog

Could start-ups be the reason why fewer millennials are buying cars?

Posted by Natalie Runnerstrom on Sep 11, 2018 9:51:00 AM

shared-economy-phones-connection-car-sale-declines-start-up-environment                      Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

A study published by The Ohio State University found that 58% of the millennials they surveyed said they don't have a car because they don't need one — meaning that more than half of their participants could go through their daily lives car-free.

This follows an ongoing trend of decreased car sales that noticed a 30% drop from 2007 to 2014. Many startups build their companies on sharing to save time and money: carsharing, co-living, and scooters, to name a few. Is this why fewer millennials are buying cars ?

Yes, our society is becoming more conscious of the environmental repercussions that stem from gas and diesel-fueled vehicles, a contributing factor to the downward turn in sales. More and more companies have added electric vehicles to their lineups, but even so — millennials just aren't buying cars the way previous generations did. 

Young professionals are moving to cities at high rates, leading to easier access to public transportation, and removing the need for a car. Multiple tech startups have hopped on this trend, listening to public demands for diversity in our commutes. And what's the easiest way to reach the public masses? Increased accessibility via a hub for sharing

people-community-shared-economy-hub-communication-millennials                      Photo by Yiran Ding on Unsplash

Let's look at Uber and Lyft, two rivals that have flourished because they operate a public service based on sharing rides — or at least a vehicle. There's no worrying about parking, payment is easy and sharable with multiple riders, and shared rides are available for a cheaper commute.

Every scooter and bikeshare company runs its business on public dependance. No one owns a Bird scooter, Lime bike, or a Citi Bike; we all work within a community network sharing every piece of equipment. The goal is to provide a more cost-effective ride for shorter distances that aren't worth it if you're driving, but would be tiring if you decided to walk.

Could this be because millennials don't want to own things anymore? Netflix removes the need to own movies or TV shows, Spotify lets you listen to music without paying for each individual song, and Airbnb gives you more affordable vacation prices in someone's home — you can even share furniture! This sharing mentality embodies millennials quest to enjoy more experiences than materials. Why should that be any different when it comes to how we get around? Sharing mobility options becomes an experience in transportation, not a hassle. 

Topics: Mobility, Design, Bikes