By next year, more than 1 million motor vehicles will have been sold online, according to research from Frost & Sullivan.
“At the current rate of adoption, online vehicle sales are expected to comprise 5 per cent of global vehicle sales by 2025, with China as a leading market,” says Julia Saini, a consultant at Frost & Sullivan’s mobility division.
In the early days of online retailing there was skepticism that consumers would purchase big-ticket items like motor vehicles online. But in recent times, consumers have embraced the concept – provided they know what they want.
In 2016, Alibaba sold more than 100,000 cars during its 11.11 Singles Day, ranging from Maserati sports cars to 13,000 local Chery runabouts. Few people pop online to buy a car on a whim – those are carefully researched, calculated purchases with settlements deferred until a 24-hour window to take advantage of a special deal. But they were still online sales, driven by good deals.
Saini says the digital transformation of the global automotive retail market is driving the need for customer-centric retail strategies and innovations along with omnichannel touchpoints to further refine the customer journey.
“Adopting disruptive new auto retail models and emerging digital KPIs by leveraging technology and data-driven approaches will be imperative for attracting new customers, enhancing customer experience, and improving customer retention,” she says.
“With the emergence of new purchase models such as vehicle subscription and short-term leasing, increased customer-centricity in terms of offerings, services, activities, roles, and functions is expected to be the focus of OEMs and dealerships in the future.”
Saini and her colleague Yeswant Abhimanyu will lead an interactive webinar on the topic on September 26, discussing innovative business models, growth opportunities, and insights on initiatives and trends across the automotive e-retail market in Asia, North America and Europe.