Internet changing car-buying habits in UAE: Google research

Vehicles are covered with protective wrap as workers prepare the General Motors automakers display ahead of the media preview of the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan .

Vehicles are covered with protective wrap as workers prepare the General Motors automakers display ahead of the media preview of the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan .

Research conducted for the first time in the United Arab Emirates by Google, in partnership with international research company Netpop, reveals that the Internet has changed the process of buying cars in the Gulf emirate, with visiting dealerships now the last stage of the process.

The research also showed that 92 percent of car buyers do not know what brand of car they want at the beginning and that 70 percent of those that do know what car they want change their minds after their online search.

“Purchasing habits of car buyers are fast changing. The Internet plays a key role in strengthening their knowledge about the product and in shaping their purchase decisions,” said Marie de Ducla, head of the automotive industry at Google in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The online search includes watching videos on YouTube of the car model as car company ads. More than three out of four car buyers, or 77 percent of people, watch videos of the cars before selecting their desired model. This percentage is relatively high, when compared to the 37 percent in the United States and 36 percent in the United Kingdom.

“Auto companies are missing out on a great opportunity by not being present throughout the online search process, a time when users need them the most,” De Ducla said.

 
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