Social distancing and health and safety concerns accelerated by COVID-19 have altered the customer journey, shaping new trends in consumer behavior, and accelerating the digitalization of industries.
For the automotive industry, with rising affordability concerns, the pandemic has further extended the gap between demographics, introduced a new segment of car buyers, and changed driving behaviors for Canadians taking to the wheel.
Deloitte Canada’s latest report identifies that many younger Canadians are looking towards vehicle ownership as a way to supplement their core transportation requirements, those which were originally being satisfied by ride sharing and public transport.
What do Millennials want?
For Millennials in Ontario, this has resulted in an entry to the market sooner than originally planned, with more than half (56%) expressing interest in acquiring a vehicle as a way to socialize responsibility abiding to increased social distancing measures.
The pandemic has altered consumers’ timelines for acquiring their next vehicle, however, buyers intending to purchase this 2020 are not necessarily looking at new vehicles. The report shows that car buyers are moving away from small hatch back models, with tighter budgets.
Affordability has been a distinguishing factor in differentiating the demographics, with Millennials intending to acquire a less expensive vehicle than originally planned, now looking towards marketplace and used car purchasing.
Good deals are still important
When it comes to the non-negotiables of the consumer purchasing check list however, some things never change.
Getting a good deal, transparent pricing and trust, loyalty and advocacy remain the necessary components for Ontarians to complete the perfect purchase.
Although the customer journey is being re-shaped across industries, for the automotive sector, Deloitte’s latest report recognizes that many parts are simply too hard to digitalize with the emotional reaction and connection felt between a new car buyer and their vehicle being pivotal.
Eighty-four per cent of Ontarians insist they would have to see the vehicle before completing the sale, keeping the dealer front and center in the customer journey.
39% of consumers have altered their timeline for buying their next vehicle, with a further 18% of those planning to purchase a new vehicle intending to do so sooner than originally planned due to increased incentives.
31% of Millennials plan to purchase a vehicle sooner than originally planned.
43% of Ontarians are planning to drive somewhat less, or significantly less, which will have a knock-on effect in the numbers regarding vehicle maintenance.
48% of Ontarians looking to acquire a less expensive vehicle than originally budgeted for.
78% of Ontarians want to buy their vehicle in-person or at a dealership.
Health and safety concerns, as a result of COVID-19 have contributed to 22% of Ontarians looking towards a fully virtual buying process, alongside “satisfying convenience requirements” and “ease of use.”
68% of Ontarians still require authorized dealers to be part of the customer buying journey and a further 84% state they would have to see a vehicle before purchasing.
33% of Ontarians feel their trust remains with the dealership where they acquired the vehicle they currently own, with 30% feeling most connected to the dealership where they carry out a regular service and 37% leaning on the manufacturer/brand of vehicle they drive.
Vehicle Electrification, the level of interest in electrified vehicles is shifting rapidly, but Canadians appear much more content to take the half step to a hybrid powertrain as opposed to a full EV.
Mass transit and ride-hailing, the mode of transportation is changing, with how people get from A to B being altered as a result of COVID-19. Personal vehicle ownership is growing, but when assessed closer the whole “pie” is shrinking. 21% of Ontarians report using public transport at least once a week, with 27% of Millennials stating they “never” use public transport and a further 49% of seniors stating the same.
Working from home, 41% of respondents are planning to work from home a minimum of a several days a week, if not every day. This has been having significant impact on how many people are moving on a day to day basis and car, as well as public transport usage.