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Indian men do more online research than women car buyers

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The Deloitte India report elaborates on details buyers look for prior to buying, time spent on research, choice of information sources, interactions with dealers, and their openness to recommend products to others.

Indian auto industry
Indian spend more time online than at a dealership when buying a car

Social media and dealerships are the least important information sources for potential car buyers. Word-of-mouth and car reviews are bigger influencers. Price / value and features are important research parameters. Test drives important to customers but most would not prefer spending more than 45 minutes at a dealership, which implies most information gathering is done outside dealerships. People do recommend cars to potential customers regardless of whether they own it or not, which means manufacturers need to engage with customers beyond sale of vehicles to create a positive buyer-seller relationship.

Kumar Kandaswami, Senior Director – Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India says the report draws insights on factors that manufacturers need to consider when reaching out to potential customers in an efficient manner.

For first time car buyers, family needs is rated as the top trigger when buying, and is 8 times more important than better brand image. For a repeat buyer, technology and need for more space are top triggers, and are 3 times more important than better brand image highlighting consumers’ rational approach wherein utility and value for money is considered important.

While social media strategy is a priority list for manufacturers, customers seem to attach least importance to info attained from social networking sites. Half of all car buyers, across age, gender and location, spend more than 10 hours researching about possible vehicles they can buy. Male buyers spend more time compared to female buyers. More than 50% of people considering 3 or lesser brands don’t research for even a single car brand, implying they’re reasonably clear about purchase, and have information.

Buyers don’t reach out to manufacturers or dealers through websites, but visit dealerships to validate info attained from online research. More than 70% of buyers visiting dealerships take a test drive making a test drive an important measure in decision making.

Customers tend to recommend products as they go through or complete their buying process. They could recommend a car they did not buy, which stress on importance of lost customers. More than 50% of respondents who consider 4 or more brands recommend at least 1 brand, more than 40% of respondents considering 3 brands recommend at least 1 brand to others which is different from car they own.