Let’s say you are interested in buying a car. Does your choice of color say anything about you? More important, does it say anything about your car’s resale value?
Apparently, it does. A local company has analyzed local classified vehicle listings and can point to quality data about how men and women differ in their used car-buying habits.
The data was compiled and analyzed by iSeeCars, a Woburn-based search engine for used car listings. Co-founder and CEO Phong Ly traces his career back to TripAdviser, and his new venture was modeled after travel resource sites. “Our site went up in late 2008,” says Phong, “and we viewed it as something of a Kayak.com for cars. We have amassed tons of data and are layering analytics on top to be used by the consumer.”
Phong and his team say the study is the first of its kind. It took them over a year to compile more than 30 million used car listings from their website. They combined that data with any dealer info that originated with an iSeeCars classified.
The data was analyzed by vehicle color and type. It concluded that men have a higher bias toward red cars, by 12.3 percent. Men also prefer orange cars 11.8 percent more than women, and black cars 9.6 percent more than women. Silver is the most preferred color among women, with a 9.2 percent bias. Brown was close behind, with a 9.1 percent bias, followed by gold, beige and blue.
Those numbers represent the bias in color preference, while white, black, and silver are among the most common overall colors selected by either gender.
“It’s one thing to say you like a car color,” says Phong, “and another to actually move forward in the used car shopping process to contact the seller about a car that color.” Though his company only followed the classified and inquiry data, the sheer size of the sample allowed for reliable predictions of actual purchases.
“I think our data is a good proxy for actual purchases,” says Phong, “That 30 million number is considerable, and we track when a classified has been removed. That signals to us that the car has very likely been sold.” According to Phong, inquiries have a 5 to 10 percent rate of turning over into an actual sale.
The numbers also go well beyond colors; Phong’s team was able to extract information about body style and engine choices. For example, white is the most popular color for pickup trucks, as white makes for a neutral background upon which contractors can place their signage.
“Once you dig down through the data,” says Phong, “we can determine preferences in vehicle size, brand, and country of origin.” Phong’s team found that women are twice as likely to inquire about a Kia then are men, and 60 percent more likely to inquire about a Hyundai. Women are 67 percent more likely to inquire about crossovers than men. Conversely, men are 45 percent more likely to inquire about sports cars than women.
The popularity of trucks with male drivers contributes largely to the fact that men are twice as likely to inquire about an eight-cylinder vehicle than women. On the other hand, women are 40 percent more likely to choose a four-cylinder vehicle.
If we could make some conclusions based on the data, it is that women prefer to buy more sensible, family-oriented vehicles. Those vehicles are also produced by reliable automakers, and tend to be more fuel efficient and shod in more conservative colors. These colors are also among the most common on the road, and thus help with the resale of the vehicle.
So how does this help you, the consumer? For one, you can determine which car types and colors are most common, and that can help with resale of your vehicle.
Automotive analysts can use Phong’s data to draw conclusions about the automotive industry that go into future buying guides, which are read by countless consumers in their pursuit of a new vehicle.George Kennedy is a freelance auto writer. He can be reached at George.Kennedy@Boldride.com. Follow him on Twitter @GKenns101.