Searches for electric vehicles (EVs) surged by 110% to half a million in 2021, while over 637 million online vehicle searches were conducted last year, with many searches geared towards aspirational brands. These are just some of the trends to emerge in the latest AutoTrader Car Industry Report.
“Following a challenging 2020, which saw the automotive market grinding to a virtual halt, 2021 was a year that forced us to evolve and find products and services that met the change car shoppers were experiencing. 2022 is, therefore, a year to ‘switch on’ new ways of thinking and operating within the local automotive landscape,” said AutoTrader chief executive officer, George Mienie.
The study – entitled SwitchedOn – covers January to December 2021.
“In 2021, over 637 million total searches were conducted on AutoTrader, a record high, representing a growth of 28% year-on-year. This translates into over 20 consumer searches per second,” said Mienie. During 2021, an average of 76 million pages were opened each month.
While the report reveals that consumers are researching more brands than ever before, they continue to be brand loyal. The five most-searched-for brands – BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Ben, Toyota and Audi – were unchanged in 2021.
Double & single cab bakkies commanded the most consumer attention, in 2021, and that trend continues into 2022 following the arrival of the Isuzu D-Max range, to challenge the hold on the market by Ford, and Toyota.
AutoTrader The top 3 most searched for Models (which represent 0.4% of all Models listed on AutoTrader) attracted 15.2% of all Model searches, up from the 9.4% experienced in the first half of 2021.
The most searched for Model (4.3% of all searches), once again was the Toyota Hilux (22,8 million searches). The second most searched for Model was the Volkswagen Golf, with 3.7% of the total search share (19,8 million
In 3rd place, was the Mercedes-Benz C-Class which generated 3.4% of the total search share (18.4 million searches). The top 10 most searched for Brands remained the same as the first 6 months of 2021.
The Volkswagen Polo GTI has retained the second most searches (2,9 million searches or 0.55% of total search share) followed by the Volkswagen Golf R, replacing the Mercedes-AMG C-Class C63 which generated the 3rd highest searches in the previous Mid-
Year report, receiving 0.4% of the total share (2,1 million searches).
Top 10 Variant Consumer Consideration
The top 10 Variant searches have seen a change in rank, with 2 new entrants taking positions 7 (Toyota Hilux 2.8GD-6) and 10 (Audi RS3 2.5) vs the first 6 months of 2021.
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is still the most searched for Variant of all listed Variants available for sale (3.2 million searches / 0.61% of all Variant searches), which, incidentally, was historically one of the Variants which had the most unstructured metadata in South Africa.
The top 3 most searched for Variants (0.004% of all Variants available) received 1.6% of all searches. It’s worth noting, that since the introduction of Variant level search functionality, searches for the Volkswagen Golf GTI have more than tripled as consumers utilise a more efficient and accurate search tool.