Consumers in Southeast Asia buy more cars, have more choices, and are more discerning than ever before. What’s more, the path they take to the dealership has changed dramatically in recent years—and automobile marketers everywhere can learn a lot from this transformation.

Sizmek researchers have completed an in-depth study looking at the marketing activity of 110 automotive brands around Asia and 11 billion auto-related ad impressions. The report, Automotive Marketing in Southeast Asia: Connecting With the New Digital Consumer, tracks automotive advertising in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam, and what it shows is an exploding marketplace where brands must realign their strategies to new digital habits.

Here are a few insights you’ll find in the new report:

  • Cars are commonplace. Changing lifestyles, lack of public transport, and increasing disposable incomes are making car ownership mainstream in Southeast Asia—a change from a past when buying a car was a momentous life event.
  • It’s just the beginning. Data indicate that the Southeast Asian automotive market is far from saturated, and purchase intent is at an all-time high.
  • It’s not just transportation. Southeast Asian consumers once saw cars as utilitarian, but today gaining status factors into the decision, giving brands more room for emotion and creativity in advertising.
  • Buyers know their stuff. The typical auto-buying journey now includes significant online research, and buyers arrive at the dealership better informed, closer to purchase, and less open to hard-sell tactics than ever before. According to McKinsey, digital channels are now the primary information-gathering source during the consideration phase for more than 60 percent of car buyers globally.  
  • Video has an impact. Vehicle research and purchase decisions are highly influenced by video. More than 50 percent of shoppers watch at least 30 minutes of video content during a vehicle research.
  • Digital is the new showroom. With so much of the decision-making process taking place online and prior to a test drive, brands must begin the sales process at the first online interaction, using data and dynamic creative throughout the journey to provide a relevant, personalized experience.

To learn more about the emergence of the discerning digital consumer in Southeast Asia and what it means for automotive brands everywhere, download the research now.