According to results of an online survey of more than 1,000 drivers across the country, shoppers are viewing their car experience in the same vein as that of their cell phone. In other words, people enjoy their car for about a year, then they're ready for something else. Low monthly lease payments abound right now, so many drivers have become accustomed to simply making a similar payment month after month and periodically upgrading their ride, much like a mobile plan.
"Whether it's your car or your phone, we all live in this new mobile mentality," said Scot Hall, executive vice president of Swapalease.com, which conducted the study. "And it doesn't stop there, because consumers have become accustomed to change in many areas of their lives, including their residence, wardrobe, career path and even the people we decide to spend our lives with – for now."
Car leasing and the mobile phone industry have become very similar models. This has been driven by the recent recession and increasing inclusion of technology and connectivity in our vehicles. New kinds of infotainment are being added to our vehicles every year, and people tend to want the latest stuff in their ride. This attitude applies to both younger and older shoppers.
"It's easy to say, 'Here comes Generation X and Generation Y,' but the recession had a huge impact on an older demographic, as well," said Hall. "These are the people that lost their houses and jobs. This has led to a desire to change things up more frequently."
Because of society's newfound fear of long-term commitment, Hall says that the new vehicle leasing is primed to become even more popular, especially since lease pull-ahead programs and online services like Swapalease that allow people to easily get out of their contracts early without repercussion are becoming increasingly available.
Indeed, easier credit got many more people opting for car leases last year. According to the New York Times, leases accounted for 26 percent of new-car purchases in 2013, an increase of about ten percent from the years before the recession.
"It's very interesting to see how consumer preferences are changing," said Hall. "Leasing definitely plays towards these new tastes."
Other interesting results from the survey include:
- Men (59.5%) and women (60.7%) would like to change their vehicles as often as they change their mobile phone
- In addition to change, men (42.0%) and women (50.0%) say the biggest reason to get a new vehicle is because it comes with a new warranty.
- BMW and Mercedes-Benz are the two brands men and women would like to change into the most, while Chrysler and Dodge were the least likely targets for change.
- In terms of other change preferences, most women (28.2%) would like to change their job/career while most men (31.4%) would like to change where they live.