Mumbai: Nearly 50 percent of car buyers from the main urban centres research online before walking into a showroom, a Google survey said.

Besides, on an average a car buyer spends 9 to 12 weeks researching before zeroing in on his final choice, the study carried out by AC Nielsen for the Internet giant said.

The study was carried out across the top eight cities involving 2,791 respondents between January and February.

Interestingly, the survey also reveals that of those who research online, over half of them change their choice of brand after coming across new information on the Web.

According to the survey, queries relating to SUVs grew the fastest on a year-on-year basis, followed by premium cars, sedans, luxury cars and hatchbacks.

Most car buyers also rated OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) websites as the most important and trustworthy sources of information, says the survey.

According to the study, of the 50 percent respondents who went online, as much as 42 percent said they used search engine as the first source of information, just behind the opinions of friends and relatives.

It also says they used the Web to research and compare prices, watch online videos and find images, do competitive analysis, find dealer contacts and read both expert and user reviews.

Commenting on the survey findings, Google India vice president and managing director Rajan Anandan said: "The off-line study substantiates the growing number of auto-related searches we have seen on Google."

Auto is the fastest growing vertical in terms of queries on Google, he said, adding most OEMs have not yet tapped the full potential of the digital medium and Google hopes the study will help them to understand and engage the customers online in a more productive manner.


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