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Auto retailers in South East Asia need to up their digital game, research reveals

Value is more important to most of today’s car buyers, even among the more affluent

As physical travel slows down because of the Covid-19 pandemic, automotive brands and dealerships need to understand the digital experiences they offer consumers who are browsing online more.

This means 2021 could be the year of automotive digital retail as consumers change the way they shop for vehicles, according to a new report by Quantcast.

For example, some brands like Nissan, are staying ahead of the game by enabling customers to have richer buying experiences entirely online.

It announced the launch of Nissan@Home in December 2020, a digital platform allowing customers to conduct 100% of their purchases online, including test drives, financial arrangements, and more.

“This year is just the beginning of what looks like a trend of automotive digital retail rising in the region, with analysts predicting the APAC e-commerce market will hit $34.46 billion by 2026.1 It is now more important than ever for advertisers to know their customers. Understanding the auto buyer audience and their buying triggers and pathways help to reduce ad spend waste by reaching those most receptive to auto brands and most likely to buy,” said Sybil Ng, the account director at Quancast.

“We know that today’s car buyer isn’t afraid to do their research, so it’s critical for automotive brands to have established digital paths that give prospective buyers the information they need at every stage of their purchasing journey. Leveraging AI and other technologies that reveal live audience behaviours can help auto brands reach more prospects and stand out from competing brands, while rich media formats create visually exciting digital experiences for people visiting auto sites.”

What does the report say?

  • Value is more important to most of today’s car buyers, even among the more affluent. Interest triggers for luxury car buyers include investing, real estate, and family changes.

  • Younger prospects tend to start researching luxury car brands early on, years before they might be able to buy.

  • Internet users aged 45+ prefer using laptops and desktops for online research activities, indicating a preference for richer content experiences versus accessing information quickly using a mobile device.

  • Social distancing measures during Covid-19, as well as health concerns, means the auto decision-making process has quickened, with potential buyers booking test drives within shorter time frames than pre-pandemic.

  • At the onset of the pandemic, automotive sales slowed across the Asia Pacific region throughout 2020, but that the industry has been slowly recovering, with recent buying behaviour showing that consumers are starting to increase vehicle purchases as they resume travelling.

  • Second-hand car sales and the demand for low-emission vehicles continue to rise, as domestic travel soars across the region. Australians are now paying almost 40% more for used cars than in pre-pandemic 2019.

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