Thursday, April 13, 2017

Google-TNS have come up with a study on how Malaysians buy their cars these days

Google together with TNS have revealed how Malaysians start their process in purchasing their new car. The blue coloured font is Google's official press release after the graphics below. My comments are below that in black.

Malaysian consumers’ car buyers path to purchase study by Google-TNS

With 75% of Malaysians (24M out of 32M) online owning an average of 3.1 devices per person, the internet, particularly mobile has changed many aspects of daily life: from the way we entertain ourselves, communicate and shop.

New research from Google and TNS shows that the convenience and portability of mobile has also transformed the way Malaysians buy cars.

In the 1980s, selling cars was simple: consumers could be reached with ads on TV and magazines and then encouraged to go to their local dealer. But today, the journey from wanting to buy a car to driving off with a new car is now more complex. Mobile puts much more information at consumers’ fingertips—even on the forecourt.

Key learnings from the research:

The internet is at the heart of the car buying process: 86% of car buyers research online before making a purchase.

a.  And mobile takes consumers to dealers: ​‘car dealerships near me’ searches grew 3x in 2016 vs 2015 on mobile.

b.  3 out of 5 ​Malaysian car shoppers have a brand in mind when they search online.

c.  Thanks to the wealth of information available online, ​2017 car shoppers visit on average 2 dealerships​ vs 2013 shoppers who visit 3.5 dealerships -- before making up their minds.

d. Online searches for car loans have increased 21%​ in 2016 compared to 2015.

● Malaysian buyers want a good deal:

a.  Functional factors have more traction than emotional factors in the purchase journey.

b.  Luxury-brand consumers focus on performance, technology, and design.

c.  Mass market consumers focus on after-service, fuel economy, and resale value.

Car manufacturers and dealers have never faced a more informed consumer. While this presents challenges, if car companies can provide relevant, helpful information on mobile just when consumers want it, they will succeed in the mobile-first era.

Okay, what Google-TNS say makes perfect sense. The internet is now the first source of information and knowledge (actually the first source of everything, including dis-information and nonsense). But you get my point. We live in an age where information is at our fingertips.

It is so easy to spread and receive information these days. Gone are the days where information of a new car launch would take a week or so to reach us. I remember being told by journalists back in the 1970s-1980s that official photographs or negatives from a new car launch over in Europe would take a week to get here. Don't talk about the car itself. Nowadays, it is all through your smartphone. You want to know about how many seats does Car A have, you Google it. You want to know how fast it can or cannot go, you Google it. 

Google and TNS also state that video is an important factor in Malaysians making their decisions too. This also means that Motoring-Malaysia would eventually be more video oriented - will try to make this happen folks. Baby Steps.

So these days, people have more or less made up their minds when they head out to the car showrooms. They also know what they are looking for in terms of equipment, price and resale value (important to the bread and butter buyers, not the high end fellas).

I looks like the Internet of Things, and the age of information has changed the way we shop for cars or for everything actually. Notice that more stores are closing in shopping malls. It does not mean there is a recession here. What it means is that more people are going for online shopping (think Zalora, FashionValet, Lazada, Alibaba etc.).

The times are a changin'. We are right smack in the middle of it. What's next is fully autonomous driving. No one's gonna need a car to drive. The car will drive you to wherever you want to go in the near future. Well, maybe in Malaysia it would take slightly longer than in Europe. But it is coming our way eventually. 

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