Compact Car Demographics: 64 Trends, Facts & Numbers [2023]

who are the people that are most likely to opt for a compact car?

In this blog post, we take a closer look at the demographics of compact car owners, exploring some of the key trends and characteristics that define this group.

Whether you’re in the market for a new car yourself or simply curious about the landscape of the auto industry, read on to learn more!

Quick Demographic Facts About Compact Car Buyers

  • Compact cars account for over 45 percent of automobile sales in the United States as of June 2022.
  • Gender distribution of sedan purchases shows 45% female buyers and 55% male buyers.
  • New trucks (in comparison) are purchased by 13% females and 87% males.
  • 93% of new compact car buyers are homeowners, while only 7% are renters.
  • 64% of new compact car buyers rate affordability as “important”.
  • When buying a compact car, 53% of car buyers consider the total purchase price.

It’s evident from these facts that the majority of compact car buyers prioritize affordability and take purchase price into consideration. Gender and homeowner status also play a role in buying preferences.

Age Demographics Compact Car Buyers

In the United States, the average age of a new car buyer has increased over the past decade, now reaching around 53 years old. Buyers of compact cars are generally younger compared to those purchasing premium large cars.

Compact and small SUVs are the only vehicle segments where buyers are younger on average.

For new SUV purchases, the household income averages are as follows:

  • 31% under $50k
  • 19% $50-$74k
  • 10% $75-$99k
  • 40% $100k and up

Household income averages for new sedan buyers are:

      • 39% under $50k
      • 18% $50-$74k
      • 9% $75-$99k
      • 35% $100k and up

These numbers suggest that compact car buyers are generally part of a younger demographic, which may indicate their preferences for affordability and fuel efficiency.

Gender Demographics Compact Car Buyers

45% of Smart Car buyers are male, while 55% are female.

  • In the United States, over 60 percent of new compact car buyers between September 2020 and August 2021 were men.
  • Women represented 40 percent of new compact car buyers during the same period.
  • Among Chevrolet buyers, a popular compact car brand, the gender distribution is approximately 60% male and 40% female.

The data indicates that while both genders participate almost equally in the compact car buying market, men seem to have a slightly higher representation.

However, the gender gap among specific car brands, such as Chevrolet, is relatively close.

Ethnicity Demographics of Compact Car Owners

  • In 2021, the majority of car buyers in the United States self-identified as white, accounting for over four-fifths of the buyers in both new and used car markets.

The data presents a snapshot of the compact car ownership landscape in the United States, demonstrating that the majority of buyers belong to the white ethnic group and those participating in car-sharing platforms fall within the 25 to 45 age range. These insights highlight the specific demographics that currently dominate the compact car market.

Education Level Demographics of Compact Car Buyers

A significant percentage of compact car buyers have completed higher education.

  • Bachelor’s degree holders constitute approximately 30% of compact car buyers.
  • Master’s degree and Ph.D. holders account for about 10% of compact car buyers.
  • High school graduates make up nearly 40% of the compact car buyer demographic.
  • Individuals with some college education but no degree represent roughly 20% of compact car buyers.
  • The data shows that compact car buyers come from a diverse range of educational backgrounds. A combination of high school graduates, individuals with college experience, and degree holders contribute to the overall compact car market.

Average Income Level of Compact Car Owners

  • Smart Car buyers have a median income of $58,000.
  • The age groups of Smart Car buyers are as follows: 30% aged 18-34 and 40% aged 35-54.
  • A new car buyer in 2015 earned about $80,000 per year, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).
  • In California, people with an income over $150,000 per year purchase a third of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
  • People with a household income of $100,000 to $150,000 also contribute significantly to EV and PHEV purchases.

The data provided shows that the average income levels of compact car owners vary depending on factors such as car type, geographical location, and buyer demographics.

Other Interesting Facts About Compact Car Buyers

  • Compact cars have the lowest cost of ownership.
  • Maintenance plays a significant role in determining the lowest cost of ownership for used vehicles.
  • For example, the Toyota Camry is a more expensive purchase than the Mazda6 but is also $2,000 cheaper to maintain.
  • Sedans are purchased by 44% female buyers and 56% male buyers.
  • New trucks are purchased by 14% females and 86% males.
  • 93% of new car buyers are homeowners, while only 7% of new car buyers are renters.
  • 64% of new car buyers rate affordability as “important.”
  • When buying a new car, 53% of car buyers consider the total purchase price.
  • Light truck sales increased from 8.7 million units in 2014 to nearly 11.6 million units in 2021.
  • On average, buyers of premium large cars are the oldest, while compact car buyers are the youngest.
  • Compact and small SUVs are the only segments where younger buyers dominate.
  • The biggest group of new SUV buyers are aged 24 to 54 years old.
  • The average cost of a new compact car is around $20,000.
  • Compact cars typically get better gas mileage than larger cars, with an average of 28 miles per gallon for compact cars.
  • The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling compact car of all time, with over 44 million sold worldwide.
  • More than 2.5 million Honda Civics have been sold in the United States since its introduction in 1973.
  • The Honda Civic has been named “Car of the Year” by Motor Trend magazine five times.
  • The Toyota Prius is the world’s best-selling hybrid car, with over 10 million units sold worldwide.
  • The average price of a new compact SUV is around $26,000.
  • Here are the main problems with Ford’s compact car (the Focus).
  • The Jeep Renegade is the most affordable compact SUV, with a starting price of around $23,000.
  • The Honda CR-V is the best-selling compact SUV in the United States, with over 4 million sold since its introduction in 1995.
  • The average fuel economy of a compact SUV is around 25 miles per gallon.
  • Around 14% of car accidents involve a compact car.
  • Compact cars are typically easier to park and maneuver in tight spaces compared to larger cars.
  • In the United States, compact cars accounted for around 17% of total vehicle sales in 2021.
  • The Chevrolet Spark is the most affordable compact car, with a starting price of around $14,000.
  • The Mazda3 has been named “Car of the Year” by Car and Driver magazine three times.
  • The Ford Focus was the best-selling compact car in the world in 2013, with over 1 million sold.
  • The Volkswagen Golf is the best-selling compact car in Europe, with over 35 million sold since its introduction in 1974.
  • The Hyundai Elantra was named “North American Car of the Year” in 2021.

The data presented here provides a glimpse into the preferences and priorities of compact car buyers, as well as insights into broader automotive market trends and buyer demographics.

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