Kotak partners Google to unveil Querimetrix

21 Jan,2016

By A Correspondent


Kotak Institutional Equities, a division of Kotak Securities Limited, in collaboration with Google launched Consumer Querimetrix — a tool that demystifies and predicts near-term Indian consumer behaviour by analyzing Google Trends data.


Using machine learning techniques and merging big data from Google Trends, the first edition of Consumer Querimetrix provides consumer insights into India’s evolving car buying journey. Using Google Trends data, the tool enables ‘nowcasting’ (near-term predictions) on consumer activity, capturing inflection points earlier than traditional forecasting tools to give a complete picture — on car launches, last mile hiccups, cannibals and competition.


Each edition of the Consumer Querimetrix series will focus on consumer behaviour in a different industry.


Launching the report, C Jayaram, Joint Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Bank said, “The digital wave is challenging conventional business practices across industries. Ground rules are evolving rapidly along with the consumer and those in the business of business intelligence need new tools to keep up with the changing landscape. Consumer Querimetrix is our step in that direction. Today, the sheer volume of consumer-centric search data available presents a tremendous opportunity to analyze and throw up actionable insights. These takeaways would be useful to both companies and investors. KIE research is highly valued by our clients and the launch of Querimetrix will further strengthen our ability to cover the Indian markets in a holistic manner.”


The first edition of Consumer Querimetrix which focuses on the passenger car segment highlights the extent to which the Internet is altering the ground rules for vendors of cars and allied products/services. With growing access to easy information online, the Indian car buyer’s journey from a whim to final purchase has changed dramatically. More than 75 per cent of car buyers are researching online for reviews, comparative specifications, financial products and used car markets before making a purchase. The first edition of Consumer Querimetrix also explains how the traditional ‘funnel’ model is giving way to a more complex purchasing path where ‘initial consideration’ may not always guarantee sales.  Although higher auto-related searches correspond to higher demand for cars, this does not hold true on a brand-wise basis.


Speaking about the trends for the passenger cars industry captured by analyzing Google Trends, Vikas Agnihotri, Industry Director, Google India said, “With over 300 million Internet users online and growing, India today has a sizeable population which accesses the Internet on a daily basis, making search queries as the most dynamic data input to arrive at consumer insights through machine learning as illustrated by Kotak’s research. If we look at the search trends related to car finance and car purchases, we’re seeing a 40% year on year growth in car purchase queries on Google in India. Over half of the people who evaluate car purchases change their consideration set during their research phase – adding two to three new car models in their consideration, the only non-negotiables are price and color of the car. This alone proves the growing complexity for car OEMs in the country. With this report we’re attempting to demystify this changing consumer behavior into actionable insights for the industry.”


Saifullah Rais, Quantitative Analyst at Kotak Institutional Equities and the architect of Consumer Querimetrix said, “In the absence of conventional rules, traditional decision-support systems are not very effective. They fall short on scalability and adaptability. Machine learning algorithms learn from data and do not rely on explicit rules, making them the most effective method of dealing with data explosion.”


The Consumer Querimetrix report outlines the influence of digital marketplaces and calls for carmakers to reassess conventional business practices. The effect is visible as car loans are increasingly being sourced outside dealerships. This trend can eat into financing margins earned by dealers and hurt profitability. On the other hand, carmakers with captive finance arms can use this opportunity to innovate and differentiate themselves during the evaluation process.


The first issue of Consumer Querimetrix establishes that Google search volumes can be used as a gauge for assessing new car launches. The report underscores the linear relationship between search interest and advance bookings during a car launch. Interestingly, higher traditional media spends do not always guarantee higher search interest.


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