BANGALORE, INDIA: Google India released a report on the auto sector in India today, providing deep insights into consumer search trends in the sector. A compilation of consumer search behavior in the auto category (Cars & Bikes) in the last two years (‘09 & ‘10), the “‘Google India Auto Report’, underlines how Indian consumers are increasingly relying on the Internet to make auto purchase decisions.
Rajan Anandan, VP and MD of Google India, said: “The report shows how crucial the Internet has become in influencing purchase decisions of the consumers. In the last two years, we’ve seen great traction amongst the players in the auto vertical as they continue to embrace digital advertising to engage car and bikes shoppers online. We have seen over 150 percent growth in revenues from the auto sector in 2010 and we expect the share of auto advertising spends on digital to grow significantly in the next few years.”
The boom in the auto Industry in India was reflected in the search behavior of Indian users on Google. According to the report, the auto vertical witnessed tremendous growth in online searches registering 110 percent and 84 percent growth in 2009 and 2010 respectively on Google Search. The trend continues to show fast paced growth this year with the auto category showing a growth of 72 percent in the first six months of 2011 over same period last year. The auto vertical is now also the fastest-growing vertical compared to other key verticals like consumer electronics, finance and travel.
The online search behavior of consumers mirrors the offline world, as query volumes on Google search see a 38% increase over first half of the year as Indian consumers tend to make auto purchases during the festive season (2009 to 2010). Indians are also more research oriented when it comes to auto related purchases, with 65 percent Indians using the Internet as the first place to do their research before deciding on the vehicle of their choice. This is ahead of consumers in mature markets like US and Europe where only 62 percent of users use Internet as their first stop.
In cars, entry and mid segment cars in the price range of (2 lakhs upto 6 lakhs), the highest selling car category by volumes in India, was also the most-searched category registering over 50% year on year growth in query volumes. In terms of type of queries, vehicle-shopping queries accounted for over 49 percent of all cars related queries.
Interestingly, in-spite of the choices available in fuel efficient small cars category, diesel cars queries saw a huge jump in query volumes registering 114 percent growth in 2010. Rising petrol prices weighed on car buyers mind as diesel car queries saw a jump of 52 percent in the period of April 2011 to May 2011 when petrol prices increased by 5 Rs/litre.
The search queries also reflected a strong trend of India’s growing appetite for bigger and luxury cars with SUVs emerging as the second most searched cars category registering over 61 percent growth yoy, followed by Luxury cars in the price range of (Rs 15 lakhs to 30 lakhs), which emerged as the fastest growing car category showing a growth of 141 percent from June 2010 to May 2011 over the same period in ‘09 to ‘10.
In the period of 2010 till May 2011 India saw over 25 new cars or variant launches. Amongst all the new car launches the following top 10 cars were the most searched car launches:
Most Searched Car Launches/Variants: From Jan 2010 to May 2011
1. Maruti Alto K10
2. Ford Figo
3. Hyundai i10 - next gen
4. Maruti Kizashi
5. Chevrolet Beat
6. Nissan Micra
7. New Hyundai Verna -Fluidic
8. VW Polo
9. Toyota Etios
10. Maruti SX4 Diesel.
Note: Data compiled on basis of search query volumes for car models five weeks prior and five weeks after the launch.
The list again reflects price sensitive nature of the Indian market with newer brands and launches capturing user’s attention.