Holidays in November and December offer more deals than typically seen

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has become a retail holiday with deep discounts on many high-end items as retailers aim to draw in shoppers and boost their sales for the year. A new study by iSeeCars.com shows that Black Friday is the best holiday for finding deals after Veterans Day.

Automotive data and research company iSeeCars.com analyzed over 48 million used cars sold from January 2013 through December 2016, comparing holidays and months of the year to determine which times of the year offered more deals than consumers would find on the average day. A deal was defined as a car with savings of at least five percent. “Cars are one of the most expensive purchases families make, and savings of even five percent can mean $950 off the average used car price of $18,992,” said Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com. “We assessed which holidays and which months had the most deals in order to identify when consumers had the best chances of finding these savings.”

Top 10 Best Holidays to Buy a Used Car

Rank Holiday % More Deals than Avg
1 Veterans Day 43.2% more deals
2 Black Friday 37.5%
3 Christmas Eve 35.6%
4 Thanksgiving Day 33.0%
5 Christmas Day 31.4%
6 Halloween 30.9%
7 New Year’s Eve 30.2%
8 Martin Luther King Day 23.4%
9 Columbus Day 16.1%
10 New Year’s Day 13.0%

 

The best holidays to buy a used car are those towards the end of the calendar year. Veteran’s Day is the holiday with the most deals (43.2 percent more than average), followed by Black Friday (37.5 percent) and Christmas Eve (35.6 percent). “Dealers are trying to meet their annual goals in November and December, and are more likely to lower their profit margins in order to do so,” explained Ly. “These major holidays are a great reason for them to drop prices and offer promotions—especially on Black Friday, where there’s increased foot traffic from shoppers looking to buy gifts or shop for bargains.”

Two other top holidays within the top 10—Columbus Day and Martin Luther King Day—are not typically thought of as major retail holidays. Ly speculated, “Both these holidays fall on Monday, and dealers may be eager to do business with consumers who spend the long weekend looking for a car.”

Worst Holidays to Buy a Used Car

Rank Time of Year % Fewer Deals than Avg
1 Mother’s Day 29.8% fewer deals
2 Memorial Day 29.5%
3 Father’s Day 23.9%
4 Good Friday 21.3%
5 Easter 19.9%
6 4th of July 17.1%

 

The worst holidays to buy a used car fall in late spring and the summer months, which include Memorial Day and the 4th of July. “People associate car sales with these holidays, but typically dealers see more demand and less of a need to increase sales via discounts around this time of year,” Ly explained. “When the new model year begins around August or September, more used cars become available on the used car market as consumers trade in their older cars, driving down prices.”

Months of the Year

Unsurprisingly, November (38.4 percent more deals) is also the best month to buy a used car because it includes the two best holidays for deals. It’s closely followed by December (38.2 percent), then by other months in the same seasons—January (19.9 percent), October (16.7 percent), and February (4.8 percent). The worst months to buy span March through August, topped by May which has 28.3 percent fewer deals than average. Two of the worst holidays for deals—Memorial Day and Mother’s Day—occur in May, contributing to its low ranking.

Best Months to Buy a Used Car

Rank Time of Year % More Deals than Avg
1 November 38.4% more deals
2 December 38.2%
3 January 19.9%
4 October 16.7%
5 February 4.8%
6 September 4.4%

 

Worst Months to Buy a Used Car

Rank Time of Year % Fewer Deals than Avg
1 May 28.3% fewer deals
2 April 26.6%
3 June 25.2%
4 July 15.4%
5 March 10.7%
6 August 6.9%

 

Consumers looking to buy a car this Black Friday, or even through the rest of this year, could be in a great position to save money. Ly said, “Even as more and more used cars come off-lease this year, knowing the right times to shop for a used car can prove beneficial to consumers’ wallets.”

Methodology

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 48 million one- to five-year-old used car sales from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2016. Deals were identified based on whether the car was listed at five percent or more below market value. The total number of listings and number of deals were aggregated nationally by month, day of the week, as well as specific holidays. At each aggregated timescale, the number of deals were divided by the number of cars sold, resulting in a probability of finding a deal. These probabilities were expressed as a percentage difference from the overall probability of finding a deal on an average day (22.2%).

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is an automotive data and research company that’s saved car shoppers more than $135 million. It helps consumers find the best deals by providing key insights and guidance, using big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of cars and thousands of dealers. Based in the Boston area, iSeeCars.com was founded by a former TripAdvisor developer and SAP executive determined to improve the car shopping experience.

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