Using Automotive Stock Photos To Market To Millennials & Gen Zers

The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” rings true in the world of automotive marketing. Studies show that images can play an important role in helping automotive consumers research different vehicles, compare their options, and make purchase decisions. If you want to engage with consumers, using high quality images is key.

However, car dealers may need to use automotive stock photos in different ways depending on their target audience, especially if they are planning on targeting Millennial or Gen Z consumers.

Millennial and Gen Z consumers are often lumped together by older generations, but failing to recognize what makes each generation unique could affect your marketing success. Why should auto dealers market to Millennials and Gen Zers? How can dealers use automotive stock photos to appeal to each of these generations? Here’s what you should know:


For decades, the automotive industry focused mainly on appealing to Baby Boomer consumers. However, auto dealers can no longer afford to ignore Millennial and Gen Z consumers.

There are roughly 92 million members of the Millennial generation, and about 72 million Gen Zers. Gen Z now accounts for about 40% of global consumers. This generation has also amassed a spending power of over $143 billion. But that’s nothing compared to Millennials’ spending power, which is estimated to be about $3.4 trillion.

So why should the automotive industry pay attention to these two generations? According to Experian, Millennials and Gen Zers are the only two generational segments of the automotive industry that are growing. In fact, it’s estimated that about 40% of all new vehicles will be sold to Millennial consumers over the next decade.

Based on these statistics, it’s clear that auto dealers need to appeal to Millennials and Gen Zers in order to remain competitive in the years ahead.


Millennial consumers typically purchase vehicles because they need them, not because they want them. Some Millennials purchase a vehicle to stay connected to their friends and family, whereas others are motivated to make a purchase after getting married, landing a new job, or having a baby.

Auto dealers may need to adjust their marketing strategies to appeal to Millennial consumers. Follow these tips:

  • Focus On Tech Features
  • Optimize for Mobile
  • Establish A Presence On Third-Party Sites


The Millennial generation is known for embracing new technologies. They are incredibly connected to their devices, especially their smartphones. One study revealed that over 80% of Millennials even sleep with their smartphones by their side.

It’s not surprising, then, that Millennial automotive consumers are drawn to vehicles that are designed with impressive tech features. Seventy-percent of Young Millennials say technology and infotainment systems are “must-haves” when shopping for a new vehicle.

The top five desired features Millennials look for when shopping for a car include:

  • Navigation system
  • Satellite radio
  • Bluetooth
  • MP3 player
  • Mobile integration

Dealers that want to appeal to this generation should use automotive stock photos that highlight these advanced tech features. Seeing photos of advanced tech features could grab the attention of Millennial consumers who are scrolling through hundreds or even thousands of car listings.


Ninety-three percent of Millennials own smartphones, and 19% of this generation only accesses the internet using their smartphone. Furthermore, 45% of Millennials use a tablet or smartphone during the process of buying a car. Because Millennials are so attached to their smartphones, it’s crucial for auto dealers to optimize their websites for mobile.

To optimize for mobile, adjust the code on your website to ensure your images are responsive. A responsive image will automatically adjust in size depending on whether the user is accessing the page from a computer, tablet, or mobile device. This way, the quality of the automotive stock photos on your website will not change regardless of the device the user is on. 


Millennials spend a lot of time researching online–about 17 hours, in fact–before deciding which vehicle to purchase. This generation often asks friends or family for advice when making a large purchase, however when it comes to car shopping, the information found on the internet has the strongest influence on Millennial consumers. 

Eighty-two percent of Millennial automotive consumers rely heavily on information from third-party websites when deciding which vehicle to purchase. Kelley Blue Book and Auto Trader are two of the top third-party websites visited by Millennial automotive consumers. To reach these consumers, it’s important for auto dealers to use high quality car stock photos to establish a presence on these third-party sites.


Gen Z is the most diverse generation in history. Unlike previous generations, Gen Z typically does not view owning a car as a necessity. They know there are other ways to get around, however they usually prefer cars over other modes of transportation. Although it is not necessary, car ownership is important to this generation. Ninety-two percent of Gen Zers still plan on purchasing a car at some point, and many say they would give up social media, social events, and even their smartphone in exchange for a vehicle.

Marketing to Gen Z automotive consumers is becoming increasingly important. Follow these tips to successfully reach this demographic:

  • Focus On Safety Features
  • Create A Memorable Experience
  • Establish A Presence on Social Media


Gen Zers are still interested in purchasing vehicles with innovative tech features, however they value safety features above all else. Because of this, auto dealers should use stock photos that highlight the advanced safety features in a vehicle.

This includes semi-autonomous features that can be used for safety purposes, such as lane-keeping systems, adaptive cruise control, forward collision prevention, blind spot warning, and automatic emergency braking systems. Using images that highlight these semi-autonomous features could help auto dealers win over safety-conscious Gen Z consumers. 


Millennials and Gen Xers ranked convenience as the most important factor when describing their ideal car shopping experience. However, Gen Zers ranked a “positive experience” as the most important factor. In other words, Gen Z wants the car shopping experience to be memorable.

Auto dealers can impress Gen Z consumers by using high quality, professional images and videos. Most dealers only use exterior vehicle images shot from three different angles. If you want to make a lasting impression on Gen Z consumers, excite them by using 360-degree exterior spins, 360-degree panoramic images, fly-around videos, and other assets. These images and videos can help you create a positive shopping experience that Gen Zers will never forget.


Just like Millennials, Gen Zers gather information from third-party websites when shopping for a car online. However, social media also plays a major role in the car buying journey for Gen Z consumers.

Gen Zers use social media to ask their network for recommendations. They also use social media to learn more about their options from dealers’ and manufacturers’ business pages. If your dealership isn’t active on social media, you may miss out on an opportunity to attract these consumers. Because of this, every auto dealer should use automotive stock photos to establish a strong presence on social media.

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