On road to recovery post Covid, preference for personal vehicles drives festive sales
With consumer sentiment pumping up, the market is also investing heavily in smart marketing tactics and offers to catch the attention of buyers
With the world setting back to normalcy after two deadly waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a huge shift in people’s preference around how they want to travel. While before Covid people were adapting to newer modes of shared mobility, as per a YouGov survey, more and more people would now prefer having personal vehicles to travel in the post-pandemic world. India was one of the top markets showing a net increase in intent to use a personal vehicle. One-third (33%) of Indian respondents say they will use their personal vehicle more in the coming year than they did in pre-pandemic times, compared to only 25% of respondents saying they will use it less. And this shift in preference is also visible in the performance of Indian auto-makers, who have been enjoying a robust H2 in 2021. And now the industry feels that the momentum will continue in the festive season as well.
TVS Motor Company’s Senior Vice President (Marketing) – Commuters, Corporate Brand & Dealer Transformation Aniruddha Haldar says, “The demand for the festival season seems upbeat with the industry witnessing positive sales momentum as compared to last month. The long-term practices of social distancing are pivoting consumer preferences towards personal mobility.”
He adds that the young and tech-savvy customers are driving the need for aspirational offerings in the industry. “Good monsoon, excellent kharif crop and vaccination drive gathering pace across the country will significantly fuel the growth in demand in the upcoming months.”
Maruti Suzuki Executive Director Shashank Srivastava is also quite positive about the festive season despite the hiccups in the sales side because of the semiconductor shortage. In an interview with exchnage4media.com, he shared, “We have witnessed a 10-12% spike in the inquiries and the consumer sentiment is quite upbeat. However, because of the delay in supply-side, we are not able to meet the demand and the wait period is quite high. Despite that, a good number of people are going ahead with the bookings.
Not just new vehicles, people have an improved propensity to buy used cars as well, as highlighted by Spinny Founder & CEO Niraj Singh. “With lockdowns gradually being removed, and the festive season in full swing, the industry sees a significant increase in demand for used cars. People have begun to choose personal mobility solutions, and the used-car market has shown to be a realistic choice amid the pandemic. In terms of sales, the festive season is the most crucial time for this business. Buoyed by an overall steady economic recovery and an increasing preference for personal mobility, owing to the pandemic and social distancing norms, used car sales are anticipated to witness notable growth over the October and November festive period,” Singh said.
Speaking about the brand’s performance, he adds, “We have sold over 1,600 pre-owned cars during Navratri and expect to sell over 6,300 cars over October and November 2021, as against 2,500 cars sold during the same period last year, marking a growth rate of 150%. Most of these customers are in the age group of 25 to 35 years, salaried professionals who are buying their very first cars, relying on car loans and other financing options. Most of these customers are preferring to buy compact yet feature-loaded SUVs, over sedans. It is also interesting to note here that 20% of Spinny’s car buyers were women in 2020. That number increased to 30% in the last six months of 2021.”
Great offer, insightful marketing
With consumer sentiment pumping up, the market is also investing heavily in smart marketing tactics and offers to catch the attention of buyers.
Haldar says, “To delight the customers and add to the festive fervor in the market, we have introduced exciting premium products like the TVS Apache RR 310 Built To Order, feature refresh to the TVS Apache series and the 125cc TVS Raider and the TVS Jupiter 125 scooter is also seeing an uptick in demand. We also continue to see a healthy response to TVS iQube Electric, a green and connected, fun-to-ride urban scooter. We expect the momentum to continue well into the festive season.”
Srivastava notes that the brand is planning to spend more than the last festive season and has a great focus on regional-language marketing this year. “We are focussing on creating industry-centric campaigns around topics like fuel efficiency (Kam Se Kaam Banega), and technical interventions (People Technology). Another factor we are investing in is making customers aware of the supply-side issues and keeping them engaged during the waiting period.”
On the other hand, Spinny is giving fixed price assurance for the car, instant online offers, free doorstep evaluation, and same-day payment. Singh highlights, “Our focus is primarily on the safety aspect during this festive season. We are convinced about the safe experience that we always deliver to our customers. We strongly believe that for every decision, precautions and social distancing norms still need to be adhered to, on priority. For the festive season, Spinny has implemented ‘With Extra Care’ initiatives that commit to a safe and contactless buying experience including Home Test Drives and deliveries. The initiative has been fervently welcomed by all our users.”
The brand also has a robust radio campaign in the running currently. “We’re very clear that our agenda for radio is to create brand awareness, to let people know that there is a brand that will add value to their life. We chose radio as a platform as we believe that a lot of listenership happens during commute; that is the time when people have time in hand, where they tend to contemplate car buying or selling decisions. Music and car are an inseparable bond, and this sort of goes hand in hand,” he concludes.
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