Digital Shopping Grows Exponentially but Shoppers in India Want to Return to Buying Cars at Dealerships, J.D. Power Finds
MG Ranks Highest in Sales Satisfaction
In an era of digitalization with more than 85% of shoppers going online to do their vehicle research, there remains a strong preference for physical visits to showrooms for vehicle purchase, according to the J.D. Power 2021 India Sales Satisfaction Study (SSI),SM released today. After a hiatus since 2019, J.D. Power has re-launched the India Customer Service Index Study in collaboration with NielsenIQ.
Online information search emerges as one of the key activities done by shoppers during their vehicle purchase journey, with 48% of survey respondents saying they watched YouTube videos or used search engines to gather information online. More than one-third (35%) said they reviewed social media advertisements as an online information source. However, offline sources, such as peer recommendation and test driving a vehicle, remain strong sources of information about the new-vehicle selection process.
Shoppers are looking forward to getting back to the showrooms for their next vehicle purchase, as 68% said they would want to go through the entire journey in-person and only 20% saying they would want a complete online experience.
“The critical issue to address here is the divergence of the preference,” said Sandeep Pande, lead of the automotive practice India at NielsenIQ. “Essentially, customers are thinking at two levels. Firstly, the readiness of the dealers to seamlessly transition from one mode to another and, secondly, the robustness of the technology integration to handle high-value purchases.”
As the pandemic continues its fluctuating waves, a transition from online to offline is likely to make customers strike a balance between the two modes of purchase. “At the end of the day, all the customers want is whether dealerships are able to anticipate their needs and fulfill them accordingly.” Pande said.
Following are additional key findings of the 2021 study:
- Turnaround for online requests: Shoppers do expect a prompt response when they make an online request to be contacted back. Currently, dealerships take an average of seven days to respond, whereas the customer expectation averages five days. In addition, about 11% of shoppers said that they did not hear from their dealer following an online request.
- Timeline to purchase: On average, shoppers say their complete purchase journey is 51 days. The first 20 days are spent on information gathering online and 31 days are spent on interaction with the dealer, culminating in the delivery of the vehicle.
- Choice of the dealer: A recommendation from peers or family (61%) remains the leading driver for dealer choice, followed by dealership location (54%) and immediate delivery (49%).
MG India ranks highest with a score 881 (on a 1,000-point scale), followed by Toyota (877) and Hyundai India (875).
The 2021 India Sales Satisfaction Study (SSI) is based on responses from 5,593 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle from January through December 2021. The months of April-June 2021 were not considered on account of the severe pandemic situation in India. The study was fielded from September through December 2021.
The study measures new-vehicle owners’ satisfaction with sales process by examining their satisfaction on six factors (listed in order of importance); delivery process (20%); dealer facility (18%); paperwork completion (17%); working out the deal (15%); sales consultant (15%); and brand website (14%). The study only examines the sales satisfaction in the mass market segment.
J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. A pioneer in the use of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic modeling capabilities to understand consumer behavior, J.D. Power has been delivering incisive industry intelligence on customer interactions with brands and products for more than 50 years. The world's leading businesses across major industries rely on J.D. Power to guide their customer-facing strategies. J.D. Power has offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.
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NielsenIQ, an Advent International portfolio company, has operations in nearly 100 markets, covering more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit NielsenIQ.com.
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