Car Buyers Going Digital, 90% Sales Are Now Influenced by Digital Platforms

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Buying a new car is one huge investment. After considering a lot of factors, buyers walk into a showroom to close a deal, but how does one decide which showroom to go to? ‘The Drive to Decide 2018’ annual report by Google and Kantar TNS tell us that now, as much as 90% of new car buyers are digitally influenced before they lock in any purchase. The study tracks consumers’ car research and purchase journey and finds that video (80%), search (90%) and, brand/dealer websites (56%) are the key digital touchpoints that play a crucial role in influencing a car-buyers decision. This figure has been on the rise and is still growing from 74% in the year 2016.

Volkswagen Bangalore Showroom

Unlike the days of the past, where you would read about vehicles either in magazines or in newspapers, today, a simple google search on your mobile phone will bring you loads of content, covering each and every aspect of any car available. Maybe this is why many dealers are going digital as well. According to the report, 60% of buyers searched for dealerships online and 56% of users visited dealer websites as apart 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%).

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Video too has had an important part in influencing the decision of a buyer. Over the last two years, the percentage of online video usage by consumers has nearly doubled from 43% in 2016 to 80% in 2018. Videos have not only enabled buyers to see the vehicles from a different perspective but also obtain actionable insights. 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%).

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Highlighting opportunities for brands to tap the online consumers, Vikas Agnihotri, Country Director -Sales, Google India said, “The speed at which Indians are adopting the internet is well established. In the case of the auto industry, 90% of 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 create more immersive experiences that allow them to drive this action.”