The study, commissioned by Zipcar, the car-sharing company, shows that nearly 40 % of millennials believe that losing their phone would be a bigger hardship than losing their automobile. They also believe it would be a greater tragedy (so to speak) than losing access to a desktop or laptop computer, or a TV set.
That compares with only 16 % of people age 35 and up who think losing their phones would be more difficult to take than losing access to those other things. In fact, more than 40 % of people 35 and up believe losing their cars would be the hardest aspect of their lives to give up. Only one-quarter of the millennials surveyed agreed that a car comes first.
Millennials also say that that their use of phones and other mobile devices is allowing them to cut back on their driving. Zipcar has been tracking millennials’ attitudes since 2010, a decade after it launched its business allowing members to rent cars by the hour. This year’s survey included 1,009 adults, aged 18 and up, including 955 licensed drivers. The study was weighted to reflect American demographic trends.
The survey confirmed what a number of experts have theorized: faced with high student loan bills, and diminished opportunities to land jobs, many millennials believe cars are too expensive for them to own, just yet.
According to the Zipcar study, 53 % of millennials said the cost of owning a car, including insurance, gas, parking as well as payments, is out of reach for them. That compares with only 35 % of older generations that took part in the survey. The average new car transaction price in December was nearly $33,000, according to the latest estimate from Kelley Blue Book.