The number of customers browsing the internet before purchasing an automobile has more than doubled in the last decade, the J D Power 2016 India Escaped Shopper Study has revealed.
According to the study, the number of new-vehicle buyers using the internet and magazines to research vehicles during the shopping process grew to 48 per cent in 2016 from 19 per cent in 2006.
"In the past, new vehicle shoppers were largely limited to information they received from close friends and relatives or from television and print advertising. With increased internet penetration, buyers are turning to the internet to get the information," J D Power executive director, Mohit Arora said.
While 56 per cent of new vehicle buyers in the Southern region use the internet for information, it was comparatively less at 41 per cent in the North.
Car buyers in the South spend more time in researching vehicles they were considering buying, like visiting dealerships and taking test drives, while it was low when compared with similar buyers from North India, it said.
"Regional dissimilarities have always existed and they greatly influence the way potential new-car buyers shop for their vehicle. Automakers need to identify these differences and create an appropriate shopping experience that caters to characteristics of each region," J D Power director Shantanu Nandi Majumdar said.
Maruti still tops
The country's largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki emerged as the preferred automaker among new vehicle shoppers for the 12th consecutive year.
"About 45 per cent of shoppers purchased either one of its models, compared to 40 per cent in 2015," the study said.
The 2016 India Escaped Shopper Study was conducted on a sample of 9,408 buyers between September 2015 and April 2016.