A new study by India-based automotive portal CarDekho has revealed three out of four new car buyers research online prior to buying the car, with around 43% making the final decision even before their first visit to any dealership.
The joint study by consulting firm Boston Consultancy Group (BCG) and online car portal CarDekho focused on the rising influence of online channels in the auto industry.
The survey sampled 1,200 respondents across the country. In addition to this, past proprietary research by BCG and CarDekho indicates digital channels influencing the Indian automotive sector in a significant way.
According to the study, consumers spend a large amount of time on car buying websites, and the selection process can take as long as 15 weeks. Furthermore, newer car models see disproportionately high digital traffic of around 53% in comparison to their market share of around 37%.
Interestingly, two out three car shoppers prefer to do their search through automotive portals rather than through the manufacturer's website directly.
This trend has been fuelling the growth for automotive portals and they have seen an approximate 50% growth in sessions in the last four years, with mobile gadgets contributing majorly to the growth as compared to desktop devices.
“Digital is fundamentally re-imagining the consumer journey for auto segment. 75% of car buyers are already researching online and 40% of them consider internet to be their most important source of information for selecting which car to buy,” said Sharad Verma, partner and managing director at BCG in a statement.
Nalin Kapoor, chief operating officer, new cars, CarDekho, told Livemint.com to respond to changing consumer habits and needs, automakers and dealers need “to quickly adapt and put in place affirmative strategies and action plans to reach out to a present-day car buyer”.