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Potential car buyers prefer radio cabs over personal vehicles; shifting preferences threaten to commoditise automobiles

New Delhi: Many potential car buyers are delaying their decision to make purchases as they see radio cabs and aggregators as a more convenient and cheaper option of commuting, according to a recent study.

As per the study by Kantar Millward Brown, which polled over 1,000 users, some 72 percent of all possible car buyers have delayed their decision to purchase a car, 88 percent felt that using a cab aggregator is cheaper than owning a car, while 86 percent of the respondents felt cabs were more convenient.

The study covered key markets like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Tier II cities like Nagpur, Jaipur and Coimbatore. All respondents were either car owners or were planning to purchase a vehicle in the next six months.

As per the findings of the study, 73 percent of all consumers felt that distance travelled in the self-owned car has come down leading to a decline in the servicing frequency of the car for about 65 percent of the respondents.

 Potential car buyers prefer radio cabs over personal vehicles; shifting preferences threaten to commoditise automobiles

Representational image. PTI

Besides, 73 percent felt that cost of servicing the car has also gone down, it noted.

"The cab aggregator services seem to be turning the automotive category from an aspirational one to a commoditised one," Kantar Millward Brown Executive VP Anand Parameswaran said.

A category that used to be more about status seems to be shifting towards convenience due to the benefits that these aggregator services provide, he added.

"The benefits propel consumers to choose them (aggregators) over their own personal vehicles. Manufacturers no longer can focus on functional benefits to create demand, aspiration and status of owning a car and driving it will lead to higher usage," Parameswaran said.

The study further noted that for 59 percent of all respondents, comfort and convenience is the most important factor while opting for a cab.

About 66 percent of those surveyed also felt that radio cabs provided better services than regular cabs, making them more comfortable to sit in for long distances as well.

"It seems consumers have found an alternative to driving on their own with the emergence of aggregator cabs. With clogged roads, a difficulty in finding parking spaces, the consumer is seeking convenience over the pleasure of driving," Parameswaran said.

However, owning a passenger vehicle is still an aspiration for a majority of Indians, which was reflected in the robust sales numbers published for the fiscal year ended 31 March, 2018, he added.

"The consumer currently is happy to opt for both a personal car and a cab aggregator. It will be interesting to see if this equilibrium lasts long," Parameswaran noted.

In April, Business Insider reported that substituting ridesharing for private cars could eliminate between 33 percent to 68 percent of the total cars on roads in cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore.

In 2017, the Mahindra Group said it was looking to jump into the ride-hailing or cab aggregation business. Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra stated that the days of personal commuting could be limited, especially in congested cities, The Times of India reported.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: May 02, 2018 16:52:41 IST