The strengthening digital environment in India is impacting consumer behaviour throughout the new-vehicle purchase journey, according to the JD Power 2017 India Sales Satisfaction Index (Mass Market) Study released on Thursday.
The study found that 49% new-vehicle buyers researched vehicles online, an increase of 15 percentage points from last year. The primary information searches relate to vehicle pricing and product specifications, resulting in an increasing number of customers visiting showrooms with a clearer idea of pricing and the variants available.
“The digital medium is enabling customers to collect a significant amount of information in advance of their vehicle purchase,” said Kaustav Roy, director at JD Power Singapore. “But they still need relevant advice to be provided at the showrooms, to formulate it into a purchase decision, as a large number customers are still undecided before their visit. Brands that help customers bridge the online and offline purchase journey are likely to benefit from positive word of mouth.”
The study found that half of the customers who used the internet to research their new vehicle seriously considered other models before making a final decision—19% higher than those who relied only on word of mouth and showroom visits for information (30%).
Another finding was that the majority of customers using online tools are younger, more educated and more affluent. More than half (58%) of customers who browsed the internet are younger than 35 years of age, with the median age of this group two years younger than those who did not use the internet. And 80% of them are university graduates, compared with 66% who did not use the internet. Customers who used the internet for purchase decision also have a mean income 20% higher than those who did not, as well as a preference for purchasing the higher variants of vehicles.
JD Power said that the study is based on responses from 7,831 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between September 2016 and April 2017.