With internet penetration in India growing rapidly, a lot of people have started scouring the web via Google search engine before buying cars. Most car buyers spend lot of time on the worldwide web researching about the automotive market before shelling out their hard-earned money on their favourite four-wheeler.
An offline study conducted by Nielsen on behalf of Google India at car showrooms of leading car makers in top eight metros reveals that one in two car buyers have conducted research online before arriving at the dealership. Over 54% of the users state they altered their choice of the car after discovering new information on the internet.
Auto is among the fastest growing vertical on Google, with query volume growth of over 70% year on year. "Most OEMs have not yet tapped the full potential of the digital medium and we hope this study will help them to understand and engage the Indian consumer online,” says Rajan Anandan, VP & Managing Director of Google India.
Respondents say they used the web to research about cars, compare prices, watch online videos & images, do competitive analysis, find dealer contacts and read reviews.
Google India car buyers’ study results indicate that 72% respondents trust OEM website as one of the most reliable sources of information. Of the 50% respondents who went online, 42% claim they used search engine as the first source of information, just behind the opinions of friends & relatives’ (47%).
Online video plays a very important role in decision making cycle, with over 56% car buyers choosing to watch videos online as part of their research. As many as 48% of the survey participants say they choose to watch videos on You Tube.
Survey results also point to exponential rise in auto queries on mobile phones, with as many as 125% of the respondents having accessed information on mobiles. From smartphones, the query volumes were almost double at 242%.
SUVs was the fastest growing car segment growing at (83% yoy), followed by premium cars (82%), sedans (75%), luxury cars (74%) and hatchback cars were growing at (53% yoy).
Based on the search query volumes, we also looked at the top 10 most searched cars based query volumes Google search in India in 2011:
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