Zipcar Study Finds 18-34-Year-Olds Make Up Majority of Members

Zipcar Inc., the world's largest car-sharing network, released its second annual independent study of “millennials” (18-34-year-olds), which examines this generation's attitudes toward personal transportation and car ownership.

The Zipcar membership base ranges in age from 18 to 80s; however, millennials are an important segment for Zipcar, comprising more than half of all members. Millennials account for about 23 percent of the general population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

The study, conducted in October 2011 by KRC Research and released Dec. 12, shows that 55% of millennials surveyed have actively made an effort to drive less — up 10% points from 45% in 2010, highlighting the growing trend of consciously reducing road time.

Some of the factors that millennials cite for driving less frequently include environmental concerns, total cost of vehicle ownership and an increased use of social media. More than half of millennials surveyed stated that "protecting the environment" as one key reason for driving less — also up 10 percentage points from 45% last year.

The study also reveals that more than three quarters (78 percent) of 18-34-year-old respondents who are licensed drivers say car ownership is difficult due to high costs of gas, parking and maintenance. In contrast to other age cohorts, social media is increasingly another factor for Millennials driving less. Sixty-eight percent of 18-34-year-olds, up 14 percentage points from 54% in 2010, agree that they sometimes choose to use social media rather than go out to see friends and family.

"In our second year of this survey, we continue to see dramatic shifts in how millennials think about personal transportation, the environment and social media," said Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of Zipcar. "One trend is abundantly clear: Millennials welcome the collaborative consumption movement with open arms, which we believe points to strong adoption of car sharing as a mainstream transportation solution for this influential segment of the population."

"Policy makers should also take notice and accept that our youngest generation will not think about transportation the way we have for the last hundred years, nor will future generations," Griffith said. "Our most forward-looking policymakers are thinking about housing, land use, highways, bridges and gas taxes like it's 2015 rather than 1971. It is my hope that these thought leaders will inspire a broader dialogue on mobility policy instead of sticking with an outdated transportation policy that directs limited funds almost exclusively toward highways."

Compared to older generations, millennials participate in and are more open to collaborative consumption programs, such as media, car and home or vacation sharing. More than half of millennials, or 53%, indicated they would likely partake in a car-sharing service, like Zipcar. The study found that millennials still value the mobility factor and convenience of driving but increasingly seek and use alternatives to personally owning a car.

This study included 1,045 adults, age 18 and over, with 987 licensed drivers. Conducted between Oct. 24 and Oct. 27, 2011, the online study utilized data weighted by the demographic variable to match the national Census. Full study and results can also be viewed at http://www.slideshare.net/Zipcar_Inc/millennial-slide-share-final.

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