The Class of 2021 will soon be shopping for a new car.

By Barnes & Noble College Marketing

Read these Gen Z consumer insights about their intentions to buy or lease.

While the global pandemic has affected many consumer spending habits, one area that remains strong is Gen Z’s plans to buy or lease a new vehicle come graduation time. The time is NOW for auto brands to set their sights on the Class of 2021 as they prepare to leave college and enter into a new life stage.

A recent study conducted by Barnes & Noble College’s insights team identified two opportunities for auto brands and resellers. First, the Class of 2021, soon-to-be college graduates, plan to purchase or lease a vehicle when they graduate. Also important are younger underclassmen who plan to buy at some point in the future.

Many college students feel the pandemic has not affected their car buying plans and intend to purchase or lease a new vehicle when they graduate. Nearly 40% intend to get a new car when they graduate, with another 36% considering the possibility of getting a vehicle.

More than half of college students intend to fund all or a portion of their vehicle purchase.

55% of students indicated they will pay the entire cost of the car themselves. Another 23% said that family will help out with vehicle financing.

While students want the latest tech inside the car, they will rely on traditional means to shop for their vehicle.

It’s no surprise that these tech savvy consumers want the latest and greatest in their new vehicles, yet they plan to fall back on traditional car shopping means (asking for advice from friends and family and going to dealership for test drives).

College students want to hear from car companies about their products and offers.

This generation will actively search for deals and thoroughly educate themselves before buying. They are interested in receiving car information and promotional offers in many formats.

Actionable Insights.

  • Begin your Spring 2021 marketing planning now. This is the time to launch your marketing campaigns targeted to the Class of 2021.
  • At the same time, begin building relationships with younger students and plan to stay in touch with them over the long-term. Make them aware of your brand strengths to increase awareness and preference. Offering incentives right now could make a vehicle more accessible to some and speed up their buying timeline.
  • Include digital elements in your marketing plans. Consider student offers via dedicated emails, social media and audience extension campaigns leveraging 1st party data to present a relevant message.
  • Offer special student financing packages since a high percentage intend to fund all or a portion of their car purchase. This will earn your brand high marks and increase activation.


Get Started

Create experiences that drive brand awareness and acquire new customers for your brand.

Partner With Us