Xers, Millennials finally surpass Boomers in collector car activity

Xers, Millennials finally surpass Boomers in collector car activity

Hagerty statistics indicate demographic shift during 2018

Fifty-five years after Bob Dylan sang that “the times they are a changin’,” Hagerty reports that during 2018 it has received more requests for classic car insurance quotes and more vehicle valuation requests from Gen Xers and Millennials than from Baby Boomers.

 “This shift was inevitable given the combined size of these generations,” McKeel Hagerty, chief executive of the family owned insurance and valuation-tracking company, was quoted in the company’s news release.

“We say ‘welcome to the club’,” Hagerty added. “It’s great to see that younger generations are just as crazy about cars as their parents and grandparents.”

By the way, McKeel Hagerty is himself an Xer and part of that demographic shift.

“In the classic vehicle world, 2018 will be remembered as the year that younger car lovers took their share of the wheel from older generations,” the news release stated. 

While the Xer/Millennial margin is only 53-47, “Given current trends, millennials, who comprise the nation’s largest generation, will become the hobby’s single largest group within five years,” the release continued.

A company spokesman said the shift became evident in September 2017 and has continued to build since then to the point that Hagerty could make its pronouncement.

However, not only have Xers and Millennials surpassed Boomers in the volume of requests and purchases, but overall requests in 2018 grew by 17 percent compared with 2017 figures, Hagerty statistics show, “indicating a healthy market and continuing interest in cars and driving across generations,” according to Hagerty analyst John Wiley.

While the demographic shift is good for the collector car hobby overall, the Hagerty research indicates that younger buyers may have different tastes than Boomers.

Wiley noted that first-generation Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros and 1960s Chevrolet Corvettes are the most popular vehicles across all three demographic groups.

1960s cars such as this ’67 Ford Mustang fastback are popular with Boomers, Xers and Millennials as well, Hagerty notes

“Everyone loves late ’60s cars,” he said. “They just have that allure.”

However, “trucks and SUVs are proving to have strong appeal to younger buyers,” Hagerty’s news release noted. “The 1973-87 C/K Series Chevrolet pickup, for instance, is the second most popular among millennials and fifth most popular among Gen Xers. Gen Xers and millennials are 35 percent more likely to be interested in a truck or SUV compared to pre-boomers and boomers.”

“Vintage pickups offer a very affordable way into the hobby for a lot of collectors so it makes sense that as you move from older to younger enthusiasts you see pickups move up the list in popularity,” said Wiley.

And while American vehicles are most popular with all generations, “millennials, in particular, have a soft spot for Japanese cars,” the Hagerty statistics show.  The company adding that millennials are four times more likely than boomers to seek information about cars produced in Japan.

Meanwhile, the company noted,  “German cars remain popular across generations.”


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  • James McIntire
    December 17, 2018, 12:56 PM

    This is just counting the people who are buying older vehicles and insuring them as collectibles. As a Gen-X’er myself I know several more people my age bracket and younger who are buying older vehicles and using them as daily transportation. For example I met a young man a couple weeks ago who is using a recently-purchased 1993 Ford Taurus SHO (now officially a ‘classic’) as his daily driver. I have a relative who, in his early 30’s, recently inherited his grandfather’s cherished 1994 Ford F-150 and is daily driving it until he can afford to buy something newer and then he will probably keep the old Ford as a collectible again. Some of these vehicles from the 80’s and 90’s are still out there, now owned and loved by a younger generation who may have grown up wanting that model; but cannot afford something newer as a daily driver. So they are daily driving their classic. Or some of these drivers may simply prefer the older vehicles as they are much simpler to drive and maintain. Not everyone wants a car that is completely autonomous, and takes the joy out of driving.

    • Mike Paull@James McIntire
      December 18, 2018, 10:52 AM

      Glad the millennials are starting to collect "classic" (?) cars. Someone needs to appreciate those 4 door, 4 banger, smogged out imports. And anything from the 90’s is not a true classic. Maybe in 30 more years, but not now.


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