A car was a matter of luxury and pride just a few years ago. Getting one, even without any AC, would add so much to one's social prestige in the late 80s or early 90s that the person or family would be treated no less than celebrities by everyone alike. However, with evolving time, expansion in the auto industry and increased spending levels, there was a gradual shift that the country witnessed. With autos rising as one of the biggest profit-making industries, it became easier to get your dream car, easy loans and high-income levels contributing significantly. And with this, there was an influx of trained drivers, not just men but also women, who literally took the matters into their own hands.
The market for the female buyers is growing by the day and as per a survey which we will come to later, even when a family has to buy a car, it is the women of the house who majorly influence the type of car that the family members need and the men just go ahead with it. Yes, that's right! We will tell you how.
India’s leading auto brands and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) took help from the 2018 Gearshift study to better understand female auto buyers' preferences. Our country's auto market is big for Indian women at the moment. The percentage of women who have been buying cars has doubled from 2012 to 2017.
Before we dive into the survey and the tips it rolls out, here is what the industry bigwigs and experts have to say.
In an exclusive chat with HerZindagi Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director, Sales & Marketing, Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) welcomed the change by sharing some staggering numbers, highlighting the big shift.
He said: “There has been a big shift in how India purchases its car. Women are dominating the decisions, be it regarding a car for the family or making their own purchase. "
He added: "From what we have seen in our research at Maruti Suzuki is that the number of women drivers has increased exponentially in the urban areas, more than double the pace from an earlier 6-8% to now 15% in a span of 6 years. A lot of it has to do with more and more women getting independent, with many being even the bread earners in the family. These women, who were earlier deemed not great with the technical knowledge, now know it all. The change is for good.”
Echoing the same ideas and taking it a step further, Auto Expert, Tutu Dhawan shared with HerZindagi that women can definitely influence their husbands when it comes to buying a car.
"From the colour to the features the car should have, it is not just the women of the house but the kids too that dominate every buying decision. They have created an impact within a household with opinions that are duly considered before making this big an investment. This is also the case because women are the best judge to know and understand the intrinsic needs of the family."
He added: "They are perhaps, the go-to person in every Indian household when it comes to addressing crucial requirements like what all do the children need, how much leg space should be there, what parking space is available, besides several others. Men mostly play a more relaxed role in going with the decisions and making the payments.
"However, the automakers have so far not addressed the specific demands of women buyers, but this is one category they should really focus on. When it comes to buying a two-wheeler like Hero pleasure, they know their biggest market is amongst women. But when it comes to buying a car, we are yet to reach that point," said Dhawan.
Now that we have it from the horse's mouth, Akanksha Saxena, Aparna Rao of Google, gave tips on how the Indian auto industry can explore this market and focus on women buyers.
Understand What Women Want
Yes, this is a very interesting question but let's just focus on the auto market. s per researchers at Google, female auto buyers are open-minded when it comes to considering brands. Less than 50 % of women say that the reputation of a brand is a priority when it comes to buying a car. What catches their eye? 85% of Indian women prioritise car design and style, 61% want spacious cars, and 59% look for durability and safety. Also, almost 40% of female auto buyers look for driver assistance features.
Engage Women Drivers With Tailored Experiences
What auto brands can do is that they can look beyond anecdotal knowledge and stereotypes. Marketers should concentrate on offline experiences. Also, women simply want to be portrayed as “equals” but in a more “realistic way.” Which is why you would see that brands like Mahindra and Mahindra have already started featuring more women behind the wheels in their ads.
Meet Women drivers Online But Then Be Ready To Assist Them Offline
We all know that digital is the way to be today and that the platform has a huge influence on which cars women decide to buy. As per the study, 93% of female auto buyers said they did online research before buying a car... Here is a personal note: My mother and me, both drive and I totally agree, online research is our ritual to buy anything for the house and in general. We will check out several studies, articles and websites for reviews and what is needed, what is important and then we physically go and do the "moina" of the product.
Women also pay attention to the warranty options even before we step into the dealership.
It is important to note that most women car buyers look for information on the brand's website directly. So always keep your website updated and make a design that it helps and guides them better.
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