Platform Deep Dive: Return of the Mac Edition

Posted by Ashley Karr on August 18, 2016

While the internet is moving towards mobile – and this holds true at CarGurus, which gets 62% of its user traffic from smartphones – desktop computers aren’t going away.

After all, people still prefer desktops for making purchases. Sixty-six percent of online consumer spending happens on PCs.

Auto shoppers continue to rely on desktops, as well. So let’s take a closer look at desktop use on CarGurus. How does the CarGurus user base split between Windows and Mac? The answer may surprise you. On the surface, it appears that Windows is way ahead. Just under 25% of CarGurus users are on a Windows PC, while the Mac share is a little under 5%.

Desktop Platform Share of CarGurus Traffic
Windows 24.2%
Mac 4.7%
Linux 0.6%
Chrome OS 0.5%

Yet these numbers don’t tell the whole story. Desktop as a whole – that is, Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS – makes up 30% of CarGurus user traffic. And Macs represent about one-sixth, or 15%, of this total.

This is more than you might expect for Mac OS. How’s that? Apple computers have just 7% of the PC market. Essentially, Macs are overrepresented by a factor of two among people who visit CarGurus from a desktop.iStock_87588023_SMALL.jpg

Why this is the case is up for debate. One possibility is that shoppers who access CarGurus from a desktop are older than the rest of the CarGurus user base. Because they’re older, they’re also wealthier. Because they’re wealthier, they’re more likely to have a Mac.

First, consider that older people are less likely than younger folks to own smartphones, which means they’re often using desktops to access the internet. 

Second, household wealth tends to rise with age.

Third, Macs are more popular among higher-earning people. The average Mac owner earns $98,000, against $74,000 for the average Windows user.  

Add all of these factors together. Older people are more likely to use a desktop than a phone, and their higher wealth increases the odds that the desktop they own is a Mac.

This is just a theory. Still, there’s no ignoring the fact that CarGurus shoppers who use desktops are unusually likely to be on a Mac (again, by a factor of two).

Maybe the more interesting story is that the CarGurus user base breaks down pretty evenly between PCs and the two big mobile platforms, iOS and Android. As we’ve mentioned, 30% of CarGurus shoppers are on desktop. Android’s share is 28%, while iOS’ is 41%.

That means that if you’re listing your inventory on CarGurus, you’re reaching all of these shoppers, on all of their devices – mobile, desktop, and even Xbox (with an impressive 0.02% of CarGurus user traffic).


Learn more about listing your inventory on CarGurus: call us at (855) 980-0784 or click here.

Topics: CarGurus info, data, research