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CDK Global Study Finds Gen Z Car Shoppers Spend More Time Researching and Find Purchase Process More Difficult Than Older Generations

  • 81% of Gen Z survey respondents say they want to take time to understand their options, where older buyers would rather finish the process quickly.
  • Gen Z shoppers report they experience more problems compared to Baby Boomers, including 45% of Gen Z frustrated with waiting on a salesperson and 52% with additional fees.
  • Gen Z shoppers are the least likely to recommend their dealership experience to a friend with a net promoter score of just 32 compared to 49 for Millennials and 53 for Baby Boomers.

There are a lot of assumptions made about Gen Z—loosely, those born between 1997 and 2012—and the need for instant gratification, from simple online purchase experiences to real-time social media engagement. However, when it comes to buying a car, Gen Z reports to be more thoughtful and spends more time weighing decisions, while finding the experience of buying a new car more frustrating than any other generation, according to a study by leading automotive retail technology company CDK Global, Inc. (Nasdaq: CDK).

In a recent survey, CDK asked more than 1,100 shoppers of all ages who recently purchased a vehicle about the car-buying experience. It found Gen Z respondents, most of whom were buying their first car (56%), were least likely to recommend their dealership experience than older generations with a net promoter score (NPS) of just 32, compared to an NPS of 49 for Millennials and 53 for Baby Boomers.

With Gen Z most interested in understanding all their options (81%) compared to Millennials (73%), Gen X (60%) and Baby Boomers (45%), the need for education—both online and from a knowledgeable representative at the dealership—proves to be critical.

The survey results also show deeper insights into Gen Z car shoppers, such as:

  • They found it more difficult to buy a car online (22%) than any other generation.
  • Waiting on a salesperson ranked near the top of their list of friction points at the dealership, and 45% ranked it as the most frustrating part of buying a car.
  • They were much more likely to buy luxury brands (39%) compared to Millennials (29%), Gen X (27%) and Baby Boomers (12%).

“Buying a car is much more complex than buying a smartphone. Consumers are presented with seemingly endless options like trim levels, stand-alone features, accessories, service packages, financing and insurance,” said Joe Tautges, chief operating officer, CDK Global. “In today’s world of simple and convenient shopping experiences, we not only have to make cars easier to buy, but we also have to meet consumers where they are based on their unique needs. By implementing more seamless processes at the dealership, sales departments can work more efficiently and spend more quality time with their customers explaining products and processes in greater detail.”

For more information on this survey, including additional generational insights on car shoppers, download the white paper here.

About CDK Global, Inc.

With approximately $2 billion in revenues, CDK Global (NASDAQ: CDK) is a leading provider of retail technology and software as a service (SaaS) solutions that help dealers and auto manufacturers run their businesses more efficiently, drive improved profitability and create frictionless purchasing and ownership experiences for consumers. Today, CDK serves over 15,000 retail locations in North America. For more information, visit


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