Convertible drivers are older, richer and smarter than the rest of us
Analysis finds most ragtop purchasers are over 45 and have annual incomes above $175,000.
Think of convertibles and the image that typically comes to mind is of a carefree young person, couple or group of friends driving with the top down, sunglasses on and the wind whipping through their hair. But in reality, most convertible drivers are graying, empty-nest baby boomers wearing prescription lenses and considering the returns on their 401(k) accounts.
That’s the picture that a recent Experian Automotive analysis paints of people who purchased convertibles in the first quarter of this year. By looking at vehicle registrations between January and March, the credit reporting agency found that more than 72 percent of consumers buying a ragtop during that period were more than 45 years old, whereas only 60 percent of all average new car buyers were of the same age.
And given the age of these convertible buyers, it’s not surprising that Experian also found that those who purchased a drop-top this winter in anticipation of warmer weather ahead were also wealthier, better educated and had no kids at home when compared to all other new car shoppers.
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According to the analysis, 19 percent of those who purchased a drop-top had a yearly income above $175,000 and 11.7 percent owned a home valued at more than $1 million. Just 10.7 percent of all car buyers earn that amount annually, and only 4.4 percent own a home valued that high. The study also found that 50 percent of convertible buyers had at least a bachelor's degree, compared to 38 percent for all other car purchasers. And 52 percent of convertible buyers didn’t have a child at home, whereas only 42 percent of average new car buyers are childless.
Brad Smith, director of Experian Automotive, said in a statement that one reason older, more affluent empty nesters make up most ragtop buyers is “that luxury brands tend to have more convertible options." He added that one long-standing perception of convertibles still holds true -- that they are mostly bought “by consumers who live in sunny, coastal areas."
Experian said that 23 percent of all convertibles in the U.S. are registered in either California (13.4 percent) or Florida (9.6 percent), with Texas (7 percent), New York (4.3 percent) and Illinois (3.9 percent) making up the remainder of the top five. As for cities with the most convertibles sold in the first quarter of this year, Los Angeles took the top spot (6.4 percent), followed by New York (5.2 percent), San Francisco, (2.9 percent), Chicago (2.9 percent) and Atlanta (2.5 percent).
But three of the five most popular models among the 4.5 million convertibles on U.S. roads -- which comprise only 1.8 percent of the entire vehicle market -- aren't that expensive. Leading all 50 states as top convertible is the Ford Mustang, followed by the Chrysler Sebring, Mazda Miata, BMW 3-Series and Chevrolet Corvette.
[Source: Experian Automotive]
"convertibles in the U.S. are registered in either California (13.4 percent)"
I don't understand how this stat is significant.
13% of the entire population of the USA lives in California so selling the same percentage of convertibles seems rather average!
I'm retired at 62 in sunny Sarasota, FL and I own a Mustang GT Ragtop.
Life is definitely good.
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