Car Brands' Race to Southeast Asians' Heart During COVID-19

07 July 2020 | Deridian Nurhalim

With the easing of partial lockdown measures in several countries across the ASEAN region, it comes as no surprise that the urge to travel across cities has come to an all-time high.

The reopening of restaurants, cafes, malls, zoos, or even attractions that have restricted operating capacity encourages people to start using their cars again.

That said, which car brand piqued motorists’ interest the most during this period?

iPrice, an aggregator e-commerce platform, has looked at the data on Google search interests & discovered a prominent surge in searches on some car brands in the region during the period of March-May 2020 as compared to the period before the pandemic.

Here are some insights they discovered:

Japanese car manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota, and Mitsubishi were dominating Southeast Asian countries during and after the imposed lockdown measures. According to iPrice, this probably indicated that Southeast Asians value affordable yet high-quality cars.

Honda was the most searched car brand in Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, while Toyota took the runner-up spot in most countries and ranked #1 in the Philippines.

With a vast array of the latest car models of Honda (Civic Type R, City, Accord, and Jazz), Toyota (Corolla Altis), and Mitsubishi (Eclipse & Attrage), car enthusiasts seemed to be pondering on their favourite car brands.

It seems that BMW & Mercedes-Benz were also attracting buyers more than ever as the search interest jumped by 50%. Its German component, Audi, witnessed a similar increase of 49% between the period of March-May 2020 when compared to December 2019 – February 2020.Although the US-based electric car company, Tesla, came 5th in the region, the company snagged the 1st spot in countries like Singapore & Hong Kong. This probably can be attributed to the fact that both countries, & Hong Kong, aim to reduce pollution through the use of electric cars by 2050, which explains the Tesla’s perennial popularity in these countries.

The search interest of Tesla spiked to the roof (22%) in Hong Kong alone, garnering an average of 246,000 search interests.

In Malaysia, given the government’s recent announcement on allowing inter-state travel, the search interests of Perodua & Proton were in the top positions, accounting for 74,000 & 60,500 of search interests respectively.

While MPV/WGN, Hatchback, and Coupe were the types of cars that were being searched during this period, many motorists plan to go on holiday or back to their hometowns with SUVs & Sedans as their go-to vehicles of choice.

A report by iPrice Group

Methodology

We collected Google search data using Keyword Planner based on a list of keywords of 22 car brands in Southeast Asia from March 1st – May 31st, 2020 in comparison to December 1st, 2019 – February 29th, 2020. Data on the type of cars were obtained based on the keywords such as “SUV,” “MPV,” “WGN,” “Hatch,” “Sedans,” and “Coupe.”

About iPrice Group

iPrice Group is a meta-search website operating in seven countries across Southeast Asia namely in; Malaysia Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. Currently, iPrice compares and catalogues more than 500 million products and receives close to 20 million monthly visits across the region. iPrice currently operates three business lines: price comparison for electronics and health & beauty; product discovery for fashion and home & living; and coupons across all verticals

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