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South African automotive industry buying cycle

South African automotive industry buying cycle in terms on Consumer intent and Consumer consideration based off the AutoTrader Mid-Year Car Industry Report

The South African automotive industry buying cycle relies on leading/lagging indicators.

Every report AutoTrader SA has published gives car buyers and sellers data on consumer consideration, consumer demand, and consumer intent which answer car buyer questions like:

Is now a good time to buy a used car in 2021?

Buying a used car in 2021 means you have to take into consideration price and given that used car prices are increasing, perhaps you should buy a used car now! On the other hand, if a car buyer thinks the market will settle and prices will come down, then holding off buying a used car is a good idea.

We are moving away from this “push strategy” where OEMs manufacture cars based on lagging indicators and push them into the market fast into a world of data, where leading indicators of consumer consideration and intent become the source of what vehicles to put out in the market.  For instance:

What car brands are in South Africa that take most of the share of sales?

At AutoTrader SA we have noticed that consumers are considering more car brands now than ever before. Which means that the 37% could begin reducing in favour of more car brands. Consumers are not only just browsing the usual suspects.

Consumer automotive industry demand for cars

The automotive industry consumer demand in 2021 generated over 149 million advert views opened on the AutoTrader SA website.

This represents a circa 48% increase year on year. 

Advert views are the precursor to an inquiry to buy a car, which gets us further down the car buying funnel. 

Despite the lockdown in 2020 to date, luxury brands are still performing well. From the data, we can see that luxury brands such as:

Are reaching all-time highs in terms of the car buying secondhand vehicle market.

Consumer advert views support the growing income gap

The income gap in South Africa is growing and this is evident through no lack of people searching for cars even at the very high end. 

As an example, the searches for Porsche have increased by 46% year on year. 

What are the most popular cars in South Africa?

Consumer automotive industry intent

For the automotive industry, Consumer Intent is enquiries on vehicles. Besides consumer consideration (which is at the top of the funnel and the leading indicator of consumer demand), they are all important factors in the car buying process.

Consumer intent is a key indicator in the sales funnel because this is where the consumer takes action by way of an inquiry on the AutoTrader SA website. They make themselves known.

The Toyota Hilux remains the top pickup for South African consumers in this regard. It’s interesting to see that makes and models that do well in consideration (search), don’t necessarily feature at the bottom of the purchasing funnel. 

For example, the Isuzu KB does not feature in the top 10 most searched for cars or advert views.

But you can see that the Isuzu KB features in the top 10 in terms of intent (enquiries). 

Another example is a Kia who doesn’t feature in the top 10 in terms of searches and advert views. But does feature in the top 10 most enquired on brands.

So what people search and look for is not necessarily what they end up enquiring about, or necessarily end up buying. This is the beauty of the internet and the world we live in…

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