Google India, along with Kantar TNS, have released a comprehensive report on the influence of digital on the decision making journey of an automobile shopper. The report titled “The Drive to Decide” states that in 2017, 89 percent of Indian car purchases are digitally influenced, up from 75 percent in 2016. These auto shoppers exhibited three key digital behaviors: 96 percent of them are searching online, 80 percent are watching online videos and 88 percent of them prefer to research on their smartphones.
Vikas Agnihotri, industry director of Google India said, “Online video has emerged as the biggest disrupter for the four wheeler industry in India. YouTube has over 225 million Indian smartphone users watching online video every month, auto content itself has witnessed an astounding 225 percent year-on-year watchtime growth. From an advertiser perspective, what makes this trend even more relevant is that car manufacturers can now measure the exact impact that online is having on offline sales, and we believe that is a real game changer.”
Elaborating on the influence of digital on the path to purchase, the report shows in the last two years, there has been a 2.5x increase in consumers who are taking only two months to buy a four-wheeler. Concurrently, the number of dealer visits have also dropped by 50 percent in the last three years. Finally, two-thirds of digitally influenced buyers are searching and discovering dealers online. Together, all of these are leading to shorter, more efficient buying cycles.
According to the report, online video is fast becoming a preferred information source that is allowing buyers to explore a new car from different perspectives. The percentage of online video usage in the process of buying a car in 2017 has nearly doubled, to 80 percent from 43 percent in 2016. Breaking up the types of videos consumers are watching; the report shows that 41 percent are vehicle safety tests; 41 percent showcase the technology and features of the car; 38 percent are on performance and 33 percent of them are customer reviews. Further, the report highlights that 79 percent of consumers who are watching online video are taking an action - underscoring the important role of online video in the decision making process.
Speaking about the challenges that marketers face today and some future trends, Gabri Herrmann, Kantar TNS said, “The modern auto shopper walks into the dealership armed with a staggering array of information. Delivering on research needs and inspiring the consumer is critical; brands that succeed in this will win the sale”.
These findings were based on research conducted by Kantar TNS. The research covers around 500 respondents in each of the 27 markets (overall 13828 respondents in 27 markets) via online or face-to-face interactions with an average survey length of 15 minutes.