Being aware of purchaser's expectations in an extremely competitive markets is tough, particularly as an industry run by lengthy production cycles. Time-to-advertise extends over numerous years. By the time the vehicle is rightly marketed and launched, the customer's expectations change. But once it makes it to the market, it's there to stay for a few years.
Unlike other Industries, manufacturers can't always go back to reiterate and make changes immediately. However, this can also work to their advantage to analyse gaps and make path-breaking innovations.
The rise of the informed consumer
The traditional method of selling cars had limited information exchange. The salesman determined what information should be available to the customer.
But the tides have changed. Increased growth of Social media users and technology available in hand has bridged the knowledge gap within the potential buyer. Within a minute, one can access all the information available regarded the vehicle including specifications, journalist reviews, customer reviews, comparison with similar models all before entering the showroom.
Let’s look at a few facts here:
38% of customers check social media reviews before a car purchase.
By the year 2020, millennials will contribute to be 40% of new car buyers, from which 88% will use the internet to research for their new car purchase.
According to Accenture’s global survey across eight countries in which India participated. It was to determine their digital expectations and experiences for 10,000 customers before and during the purchase cycle of a car. About 84 percent of Indians admitted that they would go through the entire purchase of a car directly online, which is second highest in Asia. (First being China at 92 percent). The Indian consumer’s buying decision was influenced by car websites and automotive publications online. Although, most of the customers still follow ROPO i.e Research Online, Purchase Offline. While one of the most important sources of information exchange among 96 percent of customers remains Word-of-mouth.
Following are the results of the survey.
After collecting information from all the various sources, the customers who took decisions on their own were 43 percent. Whereas, 33 percent consulted their spouses and close family members before making the final decision. This primarily focuses on male decision-making habits— as they’re likeliness to make decisions on their own is higher (53% vs. 25% for women) compared to women who are quite likely to ask their spouse and family members (48% vs. 24% for men).
However, the women customer base is growing, specifically in the luxury segment. A report by car manufacturer Mercedes mentioned that more than 5 percent of its buyers in India are women. The increasing women working population and lifestyle changes reflects the increase in women buying cars. This clearly indicates that women car buyers are the upcoming target that need to be focused on. This also highlights the gender based automotive needs in the Indian market.