More than 20% of young consumers, so-called millennials age 22 to 30, plan to purchase a car within a year, according a national survey by communications firm Capstrat.

Sixty-four percent of female millennials already have bought a vehicle, compared with 44% of males. Three percent of men and women say they’ll never buy a car.

In the poll of 400 respondents, more than 80% of young-generation car shoppers say they would consider both new and used vehicles. Most millennial car shoppers research third-party sites.

A majority think their purchase should reflect their status, but most also say they need a co-signer.

The survey found gender differences in their car-shopping behavior.

Women are more likely to consider consulting the Internet and their spouse or partner. Men are more prone to get information from professionals, such as dealership sales people.

Fifty-eight percent of men and women say they trust information from the store where they are buying a car.

The millennials, also known as Generation Y, flex annual buying power of more than $2 trillion, but sometimes are misunderstood consumers.

Some of their elders rap them as reluctant to dive into the real world. But, in fact, they often are just taking time to make important decisions in their lives, such as buying a car, Capstrat says.

“Millennials are going to overtake baby boomers in terms of spending power by 2018,” says Capstrat President Karen Albritton.

Many of them are starting careers “and all the purchases and big decisions that go along with that,” she says.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com