Used utility vehicles constitute 47 pct of all such car queries in India, being a primary driver in the online space. Hatchbacks accounted for 20 pct of search volumes. Sedans and luxury cars are the next big search interest. Growth in demand matches offline sales for SUVs at Mahindra First Choice outlets. Used SUV sales grew from 6 to 10 pct in the past 3 years.
Number of queries related to used cars on Google Search has increased by 20 times in 6 years (30 pct 2014 YoY). Buyers are now more reliant on Internet research before making a final decision. 8 in 10 potential buyers are undecided about which used car to buy when they start out. Searched queries revolve around questions pertaining to budget, brands, fuel type and ownership.
Gaurav Kapur, Industry Head for Auto vertical, Google India says the used car consumer is highly underserved here owing to lack of formal distribution and service networks. Trust deficit between buyers and sellers is reflected in search behaviour. There’s low awareness and curiosity to know about car certification or warranty. In developed countries, certified used car queries online is significant, and could provide a clue to the direction in which the market will evolve in India.
Data from Mahindra First Choice reveals proportion of first time buyers is on a decline. An increase has been noticed in multiple car in the family segment. First time buyers remain the largest category. Used car as a second vehicle in the household instead of a two wheeler is a growing trend.
Dr. Nagendra Palle, CEO of Mahindra First Choice Wheels says the used car market is larger now, and is growing faster than the new car market, all the while moving towards being an organised sector. The market is likely to see 15-20 pct growth in the next 4-5 years.
Fuel price impacts decision making. Sales data from Mahindra First Choice outlets reveals preference for diesel cars has grown. The pattern is is reflected through online car queries too. In 2011, petrol car queries stood at 80 pct over 20 pct for diesel cars. In 2014, petrol car search queries were down to 66 pct, and diesel cars were upto 34 pct.
A high volume of used car searches are made in Maharashtra, followed by South India, West Bengal, NCR, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. Honda is the most searched brand. Honda City is the most searched for used car. Only 16 pct of such searches are for specific brands. 84 pct queries are generic.