Men or women?  Who is the smarter used car buyer?

By Rikus Blomerus, Chief Marketing Officer

When it comes to buying a used car, who makes the better decision: women or men? WeBuyCars’ research highlights some important differences in how women and men approach car buying in South Africa.

Men are more interested in whether a brand of car is fun to drive, has a powerful engine or is seen as prestigious, while women are more interested in affordability and safety when deciding which car to buy.

Women are more likely to choose hatchbacks and SUVs than men, which may indicate that they value practicality, space and safety when choosing a vehicle type. Men are more likely to choose sedans, single cabs, double cabs, cabriolets, coupes and station wagons than women, which may suggest that they value performance, style and power when choosing a vehicle type.

Women and men have similar preferences for multi-purpose vehicles, which may imply that they have similar needs for versatility and functionality when choosing a vehicle type.

Women on average prefer cars that are fuel-efficient, safe and reliable. While some men may prefer cars that are luxurious, sporty and fancy, the fact that other men are more likely to purchase bakkies signifies that they prefer practicality, functionality and often times, status. Bakkies are also really safe vehicles when it comes to accidents and road hazards like potholes. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Hatchbacks are preferred by women 43.39% of the time (men 34.71%)
  • SUVs 26.65% (men 20%)
  • Sedans 14.69% (men 20.89%)
  • Single cabs 4.21% (men 8.43%)
  • Double cabs 4.62% (men 7.99%)
  • Cabriolets 1.04% (men 1.38%)
  • Coupes 1.48% (men 2.35%)
  • Multi-purpose vehicles 3.07% (men 2.64%)
  • Station wagons 0.85% (men 1.62%)

When it comes to financing their chosen used vehicle, a surprisingly high number of all people pay cash – and women slightly more so than men. The average value of vehicles that females purchase is 4.9% higher than males. Females tend to purchase more expensive vehicles than males across most age categories, with males only buying more expensive vehicles than females after the age of 70. This is further supported by the fact that females are more likely to purchase vehicles on finance than males, and that males are more likely to purchase a vehicle on an auction, thus securing a lower purchase price. This latter fact points to men acquiring greater knowledge of vehicle prices and thus able to participate in auctions to score themselves a great deal on a vehicle.

A comparison of the type of financing for car purchases is:

  • Women pay cash 63.19% of the time (men 62.56%)
  • Women get bank finance 31% of the time (men 24.19%)
  • Women buy online or auction 5.81% of the time (men 13.25%)

Irrespective of gender, Volkswagen is the most popular car brand on average across all provinces, except for Mpumalanga, which may indicate that it is a versatile, affordable, and a reliable car that appeals to a wide range of customers.

Toyota is the second most popular used car brand across all provinces, suggesting that it is a trusted, durable and quality brand that offers various models for different needs.

BMW is the third most popular car brand in Eastern Cape and Limpopo, which may imply that it is a luxurious, prestigious and high-performance car that attracts customers who value status and style.

Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton are popular car models in other provinces, which may indicate a consumer need for versatility, power, and the potential for adventure.

The top three most popular used brands/models by province are as follows:

  • Free State:                                                           Volkswagen Polo, Ford Ranger, Volkswagen Golf
  • Eastern Cape:                                                     Volkswagen Polo, Toyota Hilux, BMW
  • Gauteng:                                                              Volkswagen Polo, Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Hilux
  • KwaZulu-Natal:                                                  Volkswagen Polo, Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Hilux
  • Limpopo:                                                             Volkswagen Polo, Toyota Hilux, BMW
  • Mpumalanga:                                                    Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Polo, Ford Ranger
  • North West:                                                        Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Polo, Volkswagen Golf
  • Northern Province:                                          Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton

Women and men have fairly similar preferences for multi-purpose vehicles, which may imply that they have similar needs for versatility and functionality when choosing a vehicle type. Where they differ more widely is in their mode of purchase. While car buying is a serious consideration for both men and women, it’s safe to say that each group approaches the process differently. There are a number of options for both males and females to buy or sell their cars via platforms that offer hassle-free, fast, and reliable services such as WeBuyCars.


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