New Delhi: Indian consumers are purchasing cars after thorough research on digital platforms, with 90% of car purchases being digitally driven in 2018, up from 74% in 2016, stated an annual joint report by Google and market research firm Kantar TNS.
The study, titled ‘The Drive to Decide 2018’, tracked the consumer’s car research and purchase journey and interviewed 4,000 people across the country. The findings highlighted that video (80%), search (90%) and brand/dealer websites (56%) were the key digital touch points that played a role in influencing a car-buyer’s decision.
Buyers who are researching online are increasingly becoming more certain about the brand they want to purchase with instances of brand-switching declining from 11% in 2016 to 7% in 2018.
With India becoming a video-first country, online video is playing a significant role in the purchase journey of an automobile shopper. Over the last two years, the percentage of online video usage by consumers has nearly doubled from 43% in 2016 to 80% in 2018. The study highlights that videos not only act as a platform for discovery but also as a ‘buyers’ consulting zone' that allows them to explore the car from different perspectives and get actionable insights.
About 87% of those who watched online videos either visited the dealership (52%), scheduled a test drive (45%), requested a price quote (40%) or further researched finance and lease offers (27%).
Taking a cue from the changing customer behavior, automobile brands and dealerships have heightened their online presence. According to the report, 60% of buyers searched for dealerships online and 56% of users visited dealer websites as a part of their purchase journey. Apart from searching for vehicle pricing, users typically looked for maintenance programs (41%), promotional offers (37%), locations and directions to dealerships (35%), and reviews and recommendations (32%).
“From just searching for manufacturers and dealers online, buyers today are actively looking for videos to answer their questions around car features to reviews to vehicle performance and more. Consequently, the focus for auto manufacturers has also moved to creating more immersive experiences that allow them to drive this action," said Vikas Agnihotri, country director, sales, Google India.