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You Won't Believe How Gen Z is Changing the Used Car Shopping Game!

Published on Jun 20, 2023 by Talia Mushinsky

You Won't Believe How Gen Z is Changing the Used Car Shopping Game!

How does Gen-Z go about getting a good valuation of their used cars? Afterall, getting the most money for your car is important - can you trust the dealership? We believe it's helpful to understand how we got here. Jump in with us…

Back in the day, figuring out a car's worth relied on local dealerships, newspaper ads, and print guides. But for our tech-savvy Gen Z—those born between 1997 and 2012—that's old news. 

They're using their smartphones and data analysis tools to get the scoop on used car prices. They love speed, ease, and have a cool green streak, showing a lot of interest in electric and self-driving cars. 

Ready to learn more about how Gen Z is putting a new spin on used car shopping? Let Kunes Auto Group guide you. We're all about keeping up with the times, offering solid info and honest prices for gas cars, electric rides, or autonomous vehicles. Let's rev up and roll out into the future of car buying!

 

Keep in mind this is a broad summary and the specific methods of researching used car values can vary widely depending on factors like location, specific car models, and individual consumer preferences.

[TL;DR] Pre-Internet Era (before mid 1990s): The Baby Boomers’ Art and Craft

Before the advent of the internet, the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, leaned heavily on localized resources and personal judgment.used car values. These values were typically determined through a combination of local dealerships, classified ads in local newspapers, and print guides like the Kelly Blue Book (established in 1926) and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) guides (established in 1933). Baby Boomers largely relied on these sources, word-of-mouth, and their own personal judgment to estimate used car values.

In the time before the internet, let's call it the 'Pre-Internet Era' (before the mid-1990s), determining the value of used cars was more of an art than a science. Shoppers who were looking for a car relied heavily on localized resources and personal judgment.

 

Back then, your local dealerships played a vital role in setting the standard for used car prices. We served not only as a place to buy and sell vehicles, but also as a key source of information for car values.

 

However, dealerships weren't the only game in town. Savvy consumers also turned to classified ads in their local newspapers to get a sense of the going rates for various used car models. These newspaper sections were brimming with listings of used cars, providing a real-time snapshot of the used car market.

 

And then, there were print guides — the cornerstones of used car valuation. The Kelly Blue Book, established back in 1926, and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) guides, established in 1933, served as trusted reference books for consumers. These guides provided a benchmark for used car prices across different models and conditions.

 

Despite these resources, consumers also had to lean heavily on word-of-mouth and their own personal judgment. In the pre-internet era, car buyers often sought advice from friends, family, and mechanic buddies. They shared stories about car deals, helping each other navigate the somewhat unpredictable waters of the used car market.

The pre-internet era of used car valuation was a mixed bag of resources, both formal and informal, print and personal. As we moved into the age of the internet, these methods evolved dramatically.

[TL;DR] Early Internet Era (mid 1990s - early 2000s): Gen X Balances Tradition with Technology

With the emergence of the internet, Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980,) embraced the disruptive potential of the internet, while still valuing traditional resources. Online classified websites like AutoTrader (founded in 1997) and Craigslist (founded in 1995), became popular for buying and selling used cars. These online platforms gave consumers the ability to easily compare prices across a wider range of vehicles. However, much of the research process still involved visiting dealerships or meeting with private sellers to see the vehicle in person.

As we rolled into the 'Early Internet Era' (mid-1990s to early 2000s), it was clear that the rules of the game were changing. The internet started to shift gears in the used car marketplace, and consumers found themselves with more tools at their disposal.

 

Enter online classified websites! These new platforms, including pioneers like AutoTrader (founded in 1997) and Craigslist (founded in 1995), changed the way we looked at buying and selling used cars. They offered an expansive digital marketplace, allowing consumers to easily compare prices across a vast range of vehicles from the comfort of their homes.

These sites, filled with listings from across the country, gave car buyers a greater ability to compare prices and car models. It was like having multiple dealerships at your fingertips, and the convenience factor was a game-changer. This ease of comparison was instrumental in educating consumers about fair market values for used cars.

 

Despite these digital advancements, the personal touch remained vital. Most of the research process still required potential buyers to visit dealerships like Kunes Auto Group or arrange meetings with private sellers to see and test-drive the vehicle in person. The importance of physically inspecting a vehicle before making a purchase decision was, and remains, a crucial part of the used car buying process.

 

The early internet era blended the power of digital with the necessity of the in-person experience. It expanded consumers' horizons while still emphasizing the importance of touch, feel, and drive.The physical inspection of a vehicle before making a purchase decision held, and still holds, its prime importance.

[TL;DR] Online Valuation Era (early 2000s - 2010s): Millennials’ Digital Domain:

In the early 2000s, millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) capitalized on the convenience and information-rich nature of online valuation tools were introduced to make it easier for consumers to research used car values. For example, Kelly Blue Book expanded their offerings to the internet, and new services like Edmunds.com (which had been around since the 1960s as a print publication) started to provide online tools to estimate used car values.

 

Additionally, Carfax (established in 1984) and AutoCheck began providing vehicle history reports online, allowing consumers to check for any previous accidents, flood damage, or other potential issues before buying a used car. The introduction of data analysis tools like CarGurus, offering instant estimates of a car's market value, resonated well with the millennial lifestyle.

In the early 2000s, the landscape of used car valuation started to shift dramatically. This was a time when online services came to the forefront, offering easy-to-use tools for consumers researching used car values.

 

Leading this digital transformation was the renowned Kelly Blue Book. An established name since the pre-internet era, Kelly Blue Book adapted to the changing times and expanded their offerings to the internet. Now, consumers could access their reliable valuation information with a few clicks.

 

Alongside Kelly Blue Book, new online services emerged, offering additional tools for consumers. One such platform was Edmunds.com. Though it had been around since the 1960s as a print publication, Edmunds embraced the digital revolution and began to provide online tools for estimating used car values. Now, buyers could find comprehensive information and valuations for a vast array of car models, all in one place.

 

But that wasn't all. With the rise of online services, consumers also gained a valuable tool for assessing a used car's history. Companies like Carfax (established in 1984) and AutoCheck started offering online vehicle history reports. These services gave consumers the power to uncover any previous accidents, flood damage, or other potential issues with a car before making a purchase.

 

The arrival of the Online Valuation Era represented a significant shift in the process of used car valuation. No longer did consumers have to rely solely on personal judgment or physical inspection. With these online tools, they could equip themselves with robust, reliable information to make more informed decisions.

TL;DR] Mobile and Data Analysis Era (2010s - present): Gen Z's Tech-Forward Approach

With the widespread adoption of smartphones, Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) is leading the way! Consumers now have the ability to research used car values on-the-go. Apps like the Edmunds app, the Kelly Blue Book app, and the Carfax app allow consumers to access car values and vehicle history reports from anywhere. 

 

Moreover, sophisticated data analysis tools have made it possible to predict car values more accurately, using a wide range of factors including mileage, condition, location, and more. Websites like CarGurus, founded in 2006, use proprietary algorithms to analyze and compare millions of car listings, giving consumers an instant estimate of a car's market value. This tech-savvy generation heavily relies on mobile apps and data analysis tools for instant, comprehensive information. 

In the last decade, technology has continued to evolve at breakneck speed, reshaping various facets of our lives. One area where we've seen considerable impact is in the world of used car valuation. The reason? The widespread adoption of smartphones.

 

Today, consumers have the power to research used car values right at their fingertips. Apps like the Edmunds app, the Kelly Blue Book app, and the Carfax app have brought convenience and speed to the process of car valuation. Now, whether you're at home, at work, or on the move, you can access car values and vehicle history reports from anywhere, anytime.

But it's not just the convenience of mobile apps that has transformed the landscape. The rise of sophisticated data analysis tools has significantly enhanced the accuracy of car value prediction. By analyzing a wide range of factors such as mileage, condition, location, and more, these tools provide more precise estimates of a used car's worth.

 

One notable player in this space is CarGurus. Founded in 2006, CarGurus utilizes proprietary algorithms to analyze and compare millions of car listings. This advanced approach offers consumers an instant estimate of a car's market value, helping them make more informed decisions when buying or selling a used car.

 

The Mobile and Data Analysis Era has ushered in a new level of sophistication, convenience, and accuracy in used car valuation. As we continue to advance technologically, it's exciting to ponder how these processes will evolve further, especially with new advancements in the auto industry.

[TL;DR] Future Trends

The rise of electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous cars is poised to further change the way consumers research used car values. For example, factors like battery health and software updates may become increasingly important in determining the value of used EVs. Furthermore, as more data becomes available and machine learning algorithms become more sophisticated, consumers may be able to get even more accurate and personalized estimates of used car values.

One of the most significant developments we see on the horizon is the increasing prominence of electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous cars. These technological advancements are set to revamp the way consumers research used car values.

For instance, when evaluating used EVs, battery health could become a major factor. Just as the condition of an engine plays a crucial role in determining the value of a conventional car, the health and longevity of an EV's battery could become a key determinant in its resale value. In addition to battery health, software updates - a term traditionally associated with our smartphones and computers - may become increasingly relevant in the realm of used cars.

 

But that's not all. As we forge ahead into the future, we can expect an abundance of data coupled with the progression of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms. These sophisticated tools promise to provide consumers with even more accurate and personalized estimates of used car values.

 

The key takeaway is that as the automotive industry evolves, so too will the methods for determining used car values. These upcoming trends indicate an exciting and dynamic future for used car buyers and sellers alike.

 

In a nutshell, the way we're looking at used car prices is shifting, and it's all thanks to Gen Z. These tech whizzes are swapping old-school methods for on-the-go mobile apps and big data for their car valuations. They're also keeping an eye on the latest trends in the auto world, like the health of electric car batteries and self-driving car updates. This shift just goes to show that Gen Z is all about getting info quickly, finding easy solutions, and making eco-friendly choices.

 

As we continue to navigate these changing landscapes, Kunes Auto Group remains your steadfast guide in the world of used cars. We're excited to see where this journey takes us as tech advances and the preferences of new car buyers continue to evolve. Our commitment to providing reliable information and fair prices stands, whether you're considering a traditional gasoline car, an electric vehicle, or an autonomous car.

 

In the meantime, remember that the Kunes Auto Group is your trusted partner in the used car market. Whether you're browsing our inventory online or exploring our lot in person, we're committed to offering fair prices and reliable information. Buckle up, because it's sure to be an interesting ride!

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