The industry can foster relationships with its customers in future mobility if it integrates online and offline experiences and offers a high level of personal service.
The industry can foster relationships with its customers in future mobility if it integrates online and offline experiences and offers a high level of personal service.
( Source: Public Domain / Unsplash)

DIGITAL LIFE INDEX Consumers are more attracted to green energy and high-tech fuel-efficient vehicles

Editor: Florian Richert

The second installment of Publicis Sapient's Digital Life Index Report reveals a growing consumer inclination for green energy, and fuel-efficient, high-tech vehicles. Furthermore, the industry is facing the challenge of intensifying the relationships with its customers in future mobility.

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According to new research by digital transformation consultancy Publicis Sapient, the changes in how and where people work will be lasting, shifting domestic energy usage and mobility patterns. While for the majority, consideration of greener energy is high, and the cost is the main barrier to widespread adoption, whether for home utilities or the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs). As people change how they move through the world and the types of vehicles they drive, they expect retail energy, and by extension, fuel stations, cross-category services, expanded product offerings, and digital experiences to evolve with them across the board.

Key takeaways from the survey

  • 70% of respondents would choose to purchase green energy from their utility providers. However, cost and a lack of knowledge of available options are barriers to switching.
  • The trend towards more environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient vehicles continues, but concerns about battery range and price will slow the widespread adoption of EVs.
  • The dealership remains the preferred purchase channel for vehicles; 60% of respondents preferring to physically visit a dealership over purchasing online.
  • Expectations for vehicles pre-fitted with connected tech is now mainstream, with almost all people (93%) desiring at least one connected feature in their next vehicle.

Barriers need to be overcome to achieve widespread adoption of cleaner energy

Cost is a deciding factor for consumers' home energy choices, whether adopting green energy such as solar, switching utility providers, or using a smart meter. 70% said they would choose to purchase energy from green sources, showing a widespread commitment to sustainability. However, 41% were unsure of the options available to them through their utility providers. According to half (49%) of respondents, transparent pricing is the main priority when considering switching home energy providers. Those providers offering a better digital experience such as an easy-to-use app or online customer service are also appealing. And while most people (71%) don't currently use a smart device for managing or tracking home energy, of the respondents that do, over half (53%) do so to save money, and 34% use a smart meter to reduce their carbon footprint.

When it comes to their cars, people crave connectedness – within the vehicle itself, to their lifestyle and the world around them – and with their dealers.
When it comes to their cars, people crave connectedness – within the vehicle itself, to their lifestyle and the world around them – and with their dealers.
(Source: publicis sapient)

Connected tech is increasingly important to car shoppers

Nearly all respondents (93%) want at least one connected tech feature, such as navigation or Bluetooth, in their next vehicle, with Millennials and Gen X having the most extended list of requirements. While people expect tech from their smartphones to be as standard in new vehicles, half (50%) of respondents are willing to pay more for it, with the UAE most willing to pay a premium. The shift to digital is slower when it comes to physical car purchases; 87% of people are still reliant on their dealer. However, a growing number will increasingly prefer to complete the initial steps of their purchase journey online.

Digital Life Index Report

Teresa Barreira, CMO of Publicis Sapient, stated, "The study reveals that most people are primed to switch to greener energy at home and in transit. Businesses that ramp up easy and accessible solutions will be best positioned for the future. With the Index giving us a unique lens into consumers' lives, we're ready to help companies understand and respond with data-driven insights heading into 2021."

Barreira added, "When it comes to buying a car, people feel comfortable conducting most of the initial transaction online. As people revert to dealerships for the transaction's final steps, creating contactless platforms is critical. The digital experience will be top of mind both in transactions and consumer expectations for vehicular technology."

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