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Apple's iPhone: Gadgets More Important To Young Than Cars?

Is it a sign that we truly are in an iPhone world or a bleak reminder to automakers that it's tougher than ever for them to impress younger car buyers? Either way, the research is fascinating.

BMW 5 Series
bmwusa.com
BMW 5 Series

The latest data from CNW marketingshows that younger consumers (ages 16-29) rank tech gadgets like the iPod/iPhone, gaming systems, and computers as more important than a new car when it comes to impressing friends. Think about that for a second. There is a growing group of people who think an iPhone is more impressive than new car. Now, I would have to agree if the new car is one of the forgettable and bland entry-level models, as opposed to a new BMW 5 series.

The tech instead of torque preference is even more remarkable when you consider what CNW's research showed just 7 years ago. Back in 2000, a car was considered far more important for impressing others. In fact, it topped the CNW survey on buyer attitudes.

Why the change? CNW points out that the tech revolution has changed so many attitudes among younger consumers, that the latest gadget, especially a mobile one, is more fascinating. Also, these gadgets now cost more, and require a monthly charge, so young buyers are more vested in a new iPhone or gaming system. And that monthly payment means younger people have another expense to consider when figuring out how much they can afford for a monthly car payment.

As a result, younger buyers may have to "settle" for something a little less expensive, and perhaps less impressive, when it comes to a new ride. Priorities. For younger buyers, they seem to be more in the tech world than the auto world.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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