The internet is playing a major role in influencing the decision of India’s growing number of car buyers.
A survey by internet search giant Google revealed that one out of every two buyers have conducted research online before approaching the car dealer. More than half of those who did online research said that the information available on the Internet prompted them to change the choice of car brands before they finally bought those.
The offline survey was conducted by Nielsen on behalf of Google India at various car showrooms in the top eight metros in India. The research was conducted outside car showrooms of India’s leading car manufacturers like Maruti, Tata Motors, Ford, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Honda and Volkswagen.
|TOP 10 MOST SEARCHED NEW CAR LAUNCHES IN 2011*
- Hyundai Eon
- Mahindra XUV 500
- Honda Brio
- Tata Manza
- Maruti Kizashi
- Toyota Liva
- Hyundai Verna
- Nissan Sunny
- Skoda Rapid
- Ford Fiesta
The research was conducted outside some 234 dealership across NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Kochi.
The study also said that on an average car, buyers spend around 9-12 weeks in researching before arriving at their final decision on a car.
“This offline study substantiates the growing number of auto-related searches we have seen on Google search in India. Auto is among the fastest growing vertical in terms of query volumes on Google. Most original equipment manufacturers have not yet tapped the full potential of the digital medium and we hope this study will help them understand and engage the Indian consumer online,” said Rajan Anandan, Vice-President and Managing Director of Google India.
Buyers rated Internet more important than TV or print media for auto related content, thanks to fast, easy access to necessary information and rich media formats such as online video. Over 56 per cent car buyers also choose to watch videos online as part of their research, with over 48 per cent rating YouTube as the destination and a important source of information on the Internet.
Google also said that auto is among the fastest-growing verticals on Google, with a query volume growth of over 70 per cent year-on-year.
Of the 50 per cent respondents who went online, 42 per cent said they used search engine as the first source of information, just behind the opinions of friends and relatives.
In terms of query volume growth, SUVs were the fastest-growing car segment growing at 83 per cent YoY, followed by premium cars at 82 per cent and sedans at 75 per cent. The query volume growth of luxury cars grew 74 per cent YoY and hatchbacks at 53 per cent.
Google said that sample size of the research was based on its survey among 2,791 respondents of which 93 per cent were males. About 75 per cent of the respondents were in the age group 25-44.
The research was conducted over two months in January-February 2012.
*For most searched cars, the Google survey looked at query volumes for 13 weeks around a launch (six weeks prior to the launch week, six weeks after the launch week and the week of the launch.