American car buying habits are changing, and they’re apparently changing fast. In a CivicScience study of nearly 200,000 Americans 18+ over the last year, people who say their next car purchase will most likely be of the used variety has gone up 8%, whereas people who say they’re going to buy a new car next has dipped by 9.5%.
Overall, more than half of Americans say their next car will be a used one.
And make no mistake: Price is the main factor. Among would-be used car buyers, three out of 10 say price is the number one issue, whereas only 22% of would-be new car buyers say the same.
Additionally, the longer someone has kept their current car, the higher the chance – by a lot – they will buy a used car the next time around. People with over 100,000 miles on their current vehicle are 25% more likely to buy used than Americans with between 50,000 and 100,000 miles, and they’re more than twice as likely as those Americans whose car has less than 50,000.
Age plays a factor as well. The younger someone is, the higher the likelihood of them buying their next car off the ‘used’ lot. The only age group more inclined to buy their car new are those Americans 55+, and that’s only by a 4.5% margin.
Here’s another area where new car dealers can look to spur sales: Women are 8% more likely to buy their next car new compared to men.
Here’s an interesting nugget: People who still own their first car are 35% more likely to buy their next car used compared to Americans who don’t even miss their first car, not even a little.
Lastly, SUVs and trucks are the biggest bright spot for new car dealers, as Americans who say their next car will be an SUV or a truck are “only” 9% more likely to buy used. Conversely, people planning on buying wagons, sedans, or crossovers are going plan on going used by a whopping 48% margin.
Despite the relative strength in the economy, Americans are clearly tilting towards buying their next car used. What this means for the future of new car dealerships is unclear, but figuring out a way to bring prices down certainly seems like a prudent first step.