Is age really just a number?
The type of car we need (or want) can vary dramatically based on our stage of life. We used our data to explore which cars are most popular among different age groups of buyers. Specifically, we looked at the average age of CarMax buyers by brand and by type of car.
We found that Cadillac and Buick have the oldest buyers at CarMax, with an average age above 45 years old. The brands with the youngest buyers are Mazda and Volkswagen, with an average age of approximately 37 years old.
We also looked at the ages of buyers for popular types of cars like sports cars, minivans, and trucks. Based on our data, you’re most likely to get a sports car when you’re very young (with a resurgence in interest at about 45 years old), a minivan when you’re around 35, and a truck when you’re between the ages of 25 to 50.
For this study, we looked at all CarMax purchases from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017 and the ages of our buyers.1 We also analyzed the data by brand of car and type to see if there was any preference for certain types of cars by age group.
The chart below shows the average age of buyers at CarMax among the 22 most popular brands that we sell and that are still actively manufactured. The data is sorted by brands with the oldest to youngest buyers.
The average buyer of a Cadillac at CarMax is around 47 years old, making it the brand with the oldest buyers. Following up as the brand with the next oldest buyers is Buick, where the typical buyer is just over 45 years old. Mazda has the youngest buyers at CarMax, followed by Volkswagen and then Honda.
Next, we looked at the average age of buyers of different vehicle types at CarMax. Do people gravitate toward certain types of cars based on their ages?
The following chart shows the average age of buyers of different vehicle body types.
Pickup trucks and minivans have the oldest average buyers, while sports cars and sedans have the youngest averages of buyers at CarMax.
The chart below shows the purchases of minivans by age group. Minivan purchasing is extremely rare among people who are very young or much older, but it seems to skyrocket among people who are around 35 years old.
So, based on this data, you’ll be most likely to get a minivan around the age of 35 (perhaps when you start needing to lug a bunch of kids and cargo around).
What about for other types of cars? Pickup trucks tell a different story. You’re likely to buy a pickup truck at different stages of adulthood.
From around age 25 to 50, you’re almost equally likely to buy a pickup truck. According to the data, once you are older than 50, there is decline in the probability that you will buy a truck. And practically no 90-year-olds buy pickups!
Lastly, who buys sports cars? As it turns out, young people and 45-year-olds.
There might be some truth to the midlife sports car phenomenon. Peak purchasing of sports cars are among 20-year-olds, but when you turn 45, you might rekindle your interest in a fast car.
Sports cars are mostly purchased by the young (and those in “midlife”), minivans are most popular for 35-year-olds, and pickup trucks tend to be popular for people around the ages of 25 to 50. And while people of all ages buy most brands of cars at CarMax, Cadillac and Buick have the oldest buyers on average, and Mazda and Volkswagen have the youngest buyers.
1 Ages were rounded to the nearest half decade.