A popular car search and research company has released the results of a comprehensive study on vehicle colors. The report, published by iSeeCars, reveals that most U.S. consumers prefer to be subdued rather than flashy — popular grayscale colors, including black, white, gray, and silver, remain the most popular colors on the road, capturing nearly 80 percent of today’s market.
The iSeeCars approach reviewed over 10 million 1- to 5-year-old used cars sold between January and August 2018 and 2023. Each sale’s color and geographic location were recorded and analyzed to determine the most popular car color in each metro area, state, and nationally.
As expected, solid colors rule. White is the most popular color in 40 states, capturing 26.2% market share (gaining a few points since 2018). Black — the extreme opposite — is the most popular in the remaining 10 states, with a 21.8% share (losing a few points since 2018). In third place are gray cars, with 19.2% of the market, gaining an impressive four points since 2018 (gray captured most of its increase from silver, which is down 3.4% during the period).
Numbers five, six, and seven are blue, red, and green (capturing 9.7%, 8.2%, and 1.0% of the market, respectively). Blue and green lost market share during the past five years, but red shows growth. “While white, black, gray, and silver remain the dominant colors, it’s interesting to see how far silver has fallen,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “Silver is now just 2 percentage points above blue, which has displaced red as the fifth most popular color.”
Some of the least desirable colors are orange, beige, purple, gold, and yellow — each color comprises less than one percent of the vehicles on the road today. But, while owners of vehicles in those rare shades are much less likely to see duplicate hues on the road, a study by iSeeCars revealed that they may enjoy stronger resale values. “The most unpopular colors can be the most valuable,” reports the company.
“These price bumps aren’t a reflection of color popularity but of supply and demand,” said Brauer. “Not many people want a yellow car, but far more people want one than exist.” In other words, shoppers seeking rare shades are challenged to find them, increasing the price on the secondary market. “With regard to beige, we’ve seen the same story with economy cars,” notes Brauer. “Cars that weren’t as desirable before the pandemic have been swept along with the price increases impacting the entire used car market. That means vehicles with relatively low prices in 2018 have, as a percentage of their previous price, gone up the most. This includes previously unremarkable beige cars, which are now much more valuable simply because they are part of today’s massively elevated used car market.”
The takeaway is that most consumers pick bland grayscale colors — further increasing their popularity. While cars and trucks painted white, black, and gray may be easier to sell on the secondary market, it’s the owners of the less popular colors — primarily beige, yellow, and green — who are laughing all the way to the bank.