Gone are the days when a woman was expected to occupy only the passenger seat with a smile plastered on her face as the man flexed his ‘skills’, occasionally cracking a joke or two on women drivers and their lousiness. Shattering all these stereotypes with utmost sass, the modern-day woman is well-versed, very discerning, and absolutely calculative regarding her decision, when purchasing a car for herself. Women consumers are steadily gaining prominence in the automobile industry across the globe, and India is no exception to the same. Breaking into a predominantly male-oriented segment, women are gradually emerging as a major influence amidst the industry.
Even in the evolving secondhand (or used) automobile sector, women have not failed to carve a niche for themselves. In fact, they are progressively one of the key drivers of and major contributors to this segment’s growth in the country. Amidst a market entailing a steady development with several growth opportunities, women are smartly leveraging both digital as well as offline resources to tap into the Indian secondhand automobile segment and bringing forth stellar results in the way forward.
The rapid emergence of the women consumer segment
Young, ambitious, and fiercely independent—the modern-day woman is excelling in all spheres of her professional and personal lives, growing multifold in terms of financial, mental, and societal freedom. Moreover, in this digital era, there are many startups that have emerged that address the concerns regarding availing of loans through seamless digital lending processes, thereby empowering women further. With a rapidly strengthening financial stance and a wave of change in the general perception towards them as professionals, women are now leading the charge in bringing about a big shift in automobile consumption trends.
Within the last decade, the emergence and steep growth of women as active consumers in the automobile segment has been witnessed. One of the most interesting recent trends has been the robust surge of women automobile buyers, especially the ones below 35 years of age who now have begun investing in and using their personal mode of transportation.
Women consumers are gaining rapid traction into the industry, emerging as one of the fastest-growing segments. From their initial share of 10-12%, the percentage of women car buyers has more than doubled, comprising a share of over 25% of the Indian automobile industry at present. This has also brought about a positive difference among the industry players, encouraging them to make automobiles or include features that cater to the comfort of women well. According to the ‘Women’s Automotive Buyer Study’, car brands like Honda, Volkswagen, and Nissan are some of the women’s most favoured brands, and features like clutch-less transmission and rear-parking cameras attract them better. Therefore, in order to cater to this rapidly-growing segment, car manufacturers have begun including these modern amenities in their models.
Even in the high fragment and unorganized secondhand automobile segment, women consumers are playing the significant role of a growth driver, facilitating the steady development of this segment in an otherwise lukewarmly maturing automobile industry. While each woman has her own set of prerequisites and preferences, they have been observed to change cars more frequently which is why they generally tend to prefer buying a secondhand automobile over a new one.
There is no doubt that criteria like safety, features, performance, value for money, reliability, brand, and style, etc. serve as major deciding factors. But women also take into consideration elements like car condition, fellow customer reviews, negotiation deals, and resale value before zeroing in upon a secondhand car from a certain dealership. Through a comprehensive assessment of all these criteria and subsequent purchase, women customers serve as one of the most thoughtful yet highly impactful segments and drivers of the growth of the secondhand automobile industry.
The growth of the secondhand car market: The road ahead
The secondhand car market in India has witnessed a drastic increase of approximately 20 times in the last 6-8 years based on online searches, indicating to an annual CAGR of a remarkable 54%, according to a recent study done by Google India. Furthermore, some industry experts foresee a CAGR as high as 25% in the coming years, estimating the Indian market to more than double from its present count, reaching a value of over 7 million units by 2020.
Driven by factors such as shortening ownership cycles, boosting reliability, growing social acceptance towards used cars, rise of digital platforms for dealerships as well as loans, lowered GST rates, and the emergence of women consumer segment, the secondhand automobile industry is bound to evolve robustly and witness a bright future ahead!
Author: Shubh Bansal, Co-Founder, Truebil
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