southern region of India are more methodical in their purchase process—which involves conducting extensive preliminary research, visiting dealerships, taking test drives and negotiating—compared with buyers in the northern India, who tend to do less research before visiting the dealership and rely on the salesperson for information and are less likely to test-drive the vehicle.
Internet usage for research during the vehicle-shopping process has increased in the south to 42 per cent in 2013 from 21 per cent in 2009. In contrast, in the north, where shoppers are highly influenced by the opinions of friends and relatives in deciding on their vehicle purchase, Internet usage for research has declined to 13 per cent in 2013 from 20 per cent in 2009.
While the number of households owning multiple vehicles is at least 1.6 times higher in the north than in any other region, the average number of people riding in vehicles is much higher in the west and the south regions.
The penetration of small cars is declining at a faster pace in the north region, with consumers increasingly preferring larger vehicles.
“One of the likely drivers behind these changes is the pace of urbanisation, which is resulting in the resurgence of multi-generation families living either under one roof or in close proximity to their relatives, especially in the North,” said Arora.
“While this is resulting in a higher monthly household income, thereby enabling younger people to afford a vehicle, purchase decisions are also likely to be influenced by the growing family size,” Arora said.
According to the study, while dealer closest to the potential buyer’s home continues to
be the most influential reason for dealer selection, it has been declining during the past five years. Immediate delivery is increasingly emerging as a key consideration in choosing a dealer, cited by 16 per cent of customers as the most influential reason for selecting a dealer in 2013, up from 8 per cent in 2009.
The study finds that longer delivery time is the second-most-influential reason for rejecting a vehicle that shoppers had initially considered purchasing. An increase in vehicle delivery time to 12 days in 2013 from five days in 2009 has likely driven this as a key consideration during the purchase process, as 17 per cent of shoppers in 2013 have rejected the vehicle they initially considered due to the longer delivery period.
“Vehicle buying in India is triggered both by rational and emotional