With the massive data that AutoDeal receives from each and every transaction that happens throughout the platform, it is not surprising that we’re able to get an indication of how the Philippine automotive industry is actually behaving. Our data analysis is the essence of our quarterly Insight Report, where the latest one released for the third quarter (Q3 2018) showcases a slowdown in the market, but at the same time, poses great opportunities for improvement in customer service and experience.
While total online car buying inquiries are up by 17% year on year, down by 2.05% from second quarter (Q2 2018), we’ve observed that the purchase intent continues to be persistently slower than 2017. As we complete Q3 2018, it continues to become increasingly apparent that the speed in which consumers aim to purchase is unlikely to accelerate to the same astonishing pace that we experienced at the end of 2017.
With this in mind, many brands and dealers should become more increasingly sensitive to the fact that a portion of the consumers inquiries in Q3 may not be completed until the beginning of 2019. Remember: as purchase intent slows down, lead retention becomes more important.
When it comes to actual purchase – whether the result of improved inventory levels or faster purchasing pace – one thing is certain: the time it takes for online shoppers to purchase pickup trucks, subcompacts and crossovers has significantly sped up since Q2 2018. The fastest change was for the Compact Crossover segment which saw the average transaction time decrease by 14 days. On the other hand, the time taken to complete the purchase of a mid-size SUV or an AUV/MPV increased by almost a week.
Meanwhile, the entry of the new breed of seven-seaters take a bite into the market. Competitively priced and relatively well equipped, the Toyota Rush, Mitsubishi Xpander and Honda BR-V seem to be performing well in capturing the 40% attention of car buyers shopping for compact crossovers and mid-size SUV’s. Furthermore, the absence of age-old AUV favorites like the Mitsubishi Adventure and Isuzu Crosswind also offers additional hunting grounds for these new rugged mini-SUV/MPVs.
With vehicle availability seeming to be the only drawback right now, it will be interesting to see if regional production can meet local demand for this range of products, seem well-poised to take further bites out of the compact crossover and mid-size SUV segments.
Overall, as mentioned early on, the Philippine automotive industry faces its share of challenges as the sales downturn continues to become more apparent in the past quarter. At AutoDeal, we also face fresh challenges as our partners become increasingly more fixated on how their online marketing spends would translate to real-world sales. This basically pushed us to improve our dealer engagement and sales agent cooperation, resulting to likely to ending the year with over 50% sales growth.
That’s the interesting thing about tough times; they often prompt us to self-evaluate, and, as such, provide us with the means to find new ways and create bigger opportunities. Whether it’s changing our product line-up or adjusting the method in which we go-to-market, there’s always the opportunity to capitalize when the chips are down.
As the Philippines’ leading online vehicle marketplace, we continue to find ourselves in the advantageous position of being able to analyze changes in what consumers are looking for and the manner in which they shop. As always, the 8th edition of our Insights report aims to share our perspective on the changing times of Philippine automotive industry.
We’re now entering the home straight. With everything left to play for.