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Car sales in India is mostly influenced by online research rather than a direct visit to the nearest dealership; proves a new study by Google and Kantar TNS. In just a decade, Indians' dependance on online media for research, comparison, enquiry, test drives and even financing of new cars; have increased by a good margin. In fact, 90 per cent of car sales in 2018 had a digital influence - which is up from 74 per cent back in 2016.
'The Drive to Decide 2018' annual report crafted by Google India and Kantar TNS states that video (80%), search (90%) and brand websites (56%) are the main factors which influence a car buyer's final decision. For the same reason, leading brands are pitching more into promoting an online buying experience.
Unlike before, buyers also have a clear cut idea as to which brand they should go for, across the various vehicle segments on the Indian market. Owing to this, 'brand-switching' has declined by almost four per cent in the last two years (11% in 2016 to 7% in 2018).
The percentage of online video usage by Indians has almost doubled in 2018 when compared to 2016 (43% to 80%). The study recognises videos as a 'buyer's consulting zone' rather than just a medium of information regarding the product which he/she is interesting to buy. Since various content creators share information in their own perspective, potential car buyers are keen on knowing all kinds of things about a particular car model.
As mentioned before, automobile manufacturers and dealerships have already started implementing an efficient online platform to promote business. Rather than directly going to the nearest car dealership, 60 per cent of buyers search for a brand's dealership network online and a visit to the official websites help them make a final decision.
Besides just the price and specifications of a vehicle, buyers also conduct online research on maintenance, offers, dealership location, accessories, reviews, etc.
Vikas Agnihotri, Country Director (Sales) at Google India shared, "The speed at which Indians are adopting the internet is well established. In the case of the auto industry, 90% buyers are researching online and over 80% are watching videos. 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."
Thoughts On Car Sales In India Shifting Online
The facts and figures shared on 'The Drive to Decide 2018' reveal a lot of opportunities in the field of online sales and service of automobiles. Manufacturers have already started introducing various interactive platforms online to provide a unique buying experience. To put in simple words, we will soon be able to buy a new car from an online platform (or even right from our smartphone) in the not-too-distant future.