With more and more Indians exploring online before buying new vehicles, as many as 76 lakh of them chose to experience the features of their next car in 3D on the internet in 2020, a 300 per cent growth compared to 2019, according to data and vehicle visualisation firm Eccentric Engine.
As offline marketing and in-showroom promotion severely were constrained due to the coronavirus pandemic, consumers are moving their experiential research of cars online enabled by technology and innovation.
Eccentric Engine''s survey found that 51 per cent of the sessions were from six top-tier cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai), while Lucknow broke into the top-10 cities with 3 per cent of the digital sessions, said in a statement.
"The trend seems to be spreading to smaller tier-II and III cities nationwide, with the tier-III accounting for 9 per cent of total sessions between 2018-20. Cities like Secunderabad, Udaipur and Imphal led the uptrend in 2020," it added.
Commenting on the findings, Eccentric Engine co-founder Varun Shah said, "Online experiences with 3D have seen more than four times engagement compared to those without. We are on the cusp of disruption in Online 3D, similar to what we saw with online videos around a decade back."
Consumer-focused brands realise the potential and it is imperative to invest in 3D infrastructure for higher levels of engagements as the gap between online and physical retail continues to shrink, he added.
Eccentric Engine offers its tech-platforms One 3D, which enables vehicle manufacturers to show what they make on web browsers and empowers customers by allowing them to access products across all devices.
The survey found that while in 70 per cent of the sessions, Indians explored their next car on mobiles, 25 per cent did so on desktops.
"Most of the Indian users researched online between 12 pm-4 pm, with Wednesday being the most preferred day. Perked up by the festive season, such exploration also saw a jump during the months of November-December," it said.
The survey collected data from selected original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from a sample of 10 crore interactions and over 5,000 respondents across tier-I, II and III cities nationwide.
It found that blue and white colours emerged the top shades of new cars explored by more than 40 per cent Indian users and 35 per cent preferred grey, brown and silver. Red, black and orange were preferred by 15 per cent, it added.
Eccentric Engine claimed that as many as 91 per cent of customers, who purchased a car at a dealership after exploring it online (online to offline model- O2O) chose the same model at dealership as the one they had explored online.
Interestingly, non-resident Indians were also found to be making buying decisions for their family by exploring Indian make cars digitally for families back home.
"In 2020, out of the total 4.6 per cent NRI sessions, 31 per cent of the sessions originated from North America, which explored cars virtually on One 3D, followed by Middle East (32 per cent), Europe (10 per cent), UK (5 per cent), Australia (4 per cent), Africa (2 per cent) and Latin America (1 per cent)," Eccentric Engine said.