Priceonomics

This post is adapted from the blog of CarMax, a Priceonomics Content Platform customer. Want to learn more about the platform? Contact us here.

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There are several ways you could decide on a car color. Do you look for a color that reflects your personality? Maybe you want a color that says, “Look at me!” Perhaps you like a certain color for your commuter car and another for your weekend pickup. Would you rather blend in with the crowd or stand out in a crowded parking lot?

No matter what your motivation is, when it comes to choosing the best color for your next car, you have a rainbow of options. Interestingly, the most popular colors aren’t associated with a typical rainbow. No offense to red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, or violet, but most car buyers prefer neutral car colors, according to our data. In fact, if you’re looking for the best-selling colors, the answer is right here in black and white.

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We found that nearly half of cars sold at CarMax nationwide from December 1, 2017, through November 30, 2018, were black or white. Add silver and gray, and Americans’ taste for middle-of-the-road colors becomes even more apparent. More than half of cars sold were black, white, silver, or gray.

Black was the top choice among CarMax buyers, with 22.25% of all sales. White was a close second, with 19.34% of sales. Gray (17.63%) and silver (14.64%) rounded out the top four most popular colors.1 The chart below shows the national best-selling vehicle colors at CarMax.

Data source: CarMax

While black and white were the most popular car colors, we used our data to find out if other colors were more popular in certain vehicle body types. Consider sports cars, for instance. Surely the best-selling sports car color was candy apple red, right? Wrong.

Whether you look at sales of two-door coupes, four-door sedans, convertibles, or yes, even sports cars, the most popular color choice was black. White was the most popular color for trucks, minivans/vans, and wagons. The chart below shows the best-selling colors of vehicles by body type at CarMax.1

Data source: CarMax

Though many opt for neutral, low-chroma colors on cars, we took a closer look at the best of the rest. When we excluded the top four colors — black, white, silver, and gray — two hues moved to the top of our list. Blue and red cars are by far the most popular of the remaining colors. In fact, more than half of the cars sold in this group were either blue (36.80%) or red (36.58%). Less-popular choices included brown (8.28%), gold (5.51%), green (5.15%), and tan (3.41%). If you really want your car to stand out in a crowded parking lot, choose orange (2.13%), purple (1.22%), or yellow (0.90%).

Data source: CarMax

What are the best-selling cars by color? In other words, which vehicles had the highest percentage of sales in a specific color?

The chart below shows that 45.99% of Cadillac Escalades sold at CarMax were black, 54.75% of Ford Transit Connects were white, 32.51% of Subaru WRX were blue, and 33.66% of Mazda MX-5 Miatas were red. Yellow was the least popular color purchased by CarMax customers, with the Chevrolet Camaro as most popular in this category. The chart below shows the full list of the best-selling cars by color at CarMax.1

Data source: CarMax

We also used our data to find out if there were any cool car color trends based on geographic location. We determined the states where each color is most popular. Black vehicles were more popular in New Hampshire than in any other state. New Hampshire had the highest percentage of black cars sold, with 25.30%. Blue cars were most popular in Rhode Island, and red cars were most popular in Utah.

And, which state is literally going green? Idaho. The chart below shows the states where each car color is most popular based on our nationwide sales data.1

Data source: CarMax

Americans embrace their individuality, but according to our data, they love uniformity in their used cars colors. Black was the most popular car color sold nationwide by CarMax, with white coming in a close second. To find out more about the most popular car colors in your neck of the woods, check out the CarMax Color Trends Tool.

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Note: If you’re a company that wants to work with Priceonomics to turn your data into great stories, learn more about the Priceonomics Data Studio or Content Platform.



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