WHY YOUNG AUSTRALIANS ARE THE CUSTOMER OF THE FUTURE FOR INDEPENDENT MECHANICS

Is car ownership dying in the under 30 market? ACA Research says: no

Increases in car sharing; the rise of Uber; and stories about young people delaying getting their driving licences or choosing to buy new cars later in life have all prompted speculation that car ownership is dying among the ‘under 30s.’
However, ACA Research says its latest insights reveal that the ‘death of car ownership’ is a premature concept.
On top of this, it says its research also clearly shows that the independent mechanic is the preferred service channel for younger Australians.
From an aftermarket perspective, says ACA Research, Millennials and Generation Z are often overlooked segments yet they represent a sizeable opportunity for independent mechanics and could even be called ‘the customer of the future.’
As table one shows, more than 17 million Australians aged 18+ have a driving licence and own a motor vehicle, including roughly five million Millennials and Generation Z vehicle owners.
Looking at their most recent service, 70 percent of Generation Z also say they used an independent workshop or chain, compared with 45 percent of Baby Boomers and Greys.
ACA Research says this bias towards independents is likely to reflect the age of the vehicle they own, but it also represents an opportunity to build a long term relationship with younger car owners who represent the customer of the future for many workshops.
Another point to be conscious of is that while the average cost of a Generation Z motorist’s last service is lower than the overall average, price is not the most important factor in deciding where to service their vehicle. The top three factors, in order of importance are:
1. The skills/training of the mechanics
2. Trust in the workshop
3. The quality of the parts used
These three choice drivers are universal across all generations which means the same messaging can be used in all communications, says ACA Research.
Where younger motorists differ is in the channels they use to consume information. Fundamentally, Generation Z and Millennials tend to be digital first customers.
This means they turn to digital channels first to contact a brand, to seek support and advice, and to make a purchase. Mobile is their preferred device and they are heavy users of social media to find and evaluate potential service providers.
So, what does it take to win the heart of the younger motorist?
ACA Research says its research shows trust is a key differentiator for choosing a workshop, so it advises you use social media to pull back the curtain and show the transparent nature of your business.
Your customers are looking for evidence of the skills of your mechanics, so ACA Research recommends you use video to demonstrate the technical competence of your staff. With mobile the device of choice, it is recommended you make sure your website is mobile optimised. Finally, get customers talking about the great service they experienced at your workshop – word of mouth is still king, it’s just that your younger customers have a different way of spreading the word.
This column was prepared for AAA Magazine by ACA Research, our partners in the AAAA Aftermarket Dashboard, which is delivered to your inbox each quarter.

For more information, visit www.acaresearch.com.au or contact Ben Selwyn on bselwyn@acaresearch.com.au