2018 has been a good year for the automotive industry. Despite a slight drop in May, the year is on track to eclipse 2017’s all-time annual sales record. Over the first five months of 2018, new vehicle sales have grown 2.1% YoY, to reach over 475,000 unit sales.
But not all automakers have seen the same uplift. Holden has fallen out of favour since closing its local operations. The manufacturer, along with Mazda and Nissan, have seen large drops in new vehicle sales compared to last year.
So, who has succeeded this year? In this article, we look at Mitsubishi. Although this automaker isn’t the largest, Mitsubishi is one of the fastest-growing players. Using Hitwise data, we look at how Mitsubishi’s digital strategy was crucial to driving sales growth.
What has happened in 2018 so far?
With over 88,000 models sold in January to May, Toyota continues to dominate the Australian market. Toyota grew by 5% YoY, and reached almost double the volume in car sales than the next largest player, Mazda (according to Vfacts).
But, an additional 5 out of the top 10 automakers also rose in new vehicle sales. In particular, Mitsubishi, Kia and Honda saw double digit growth over this period. So, how did these automakers achieve this?
Online activity was linked to sales growth
For Mitsubishi, Kia and Honda, online visits to their respective sites increased substantially in January to May YoY. In particular, Mitsubishi attracted 24.3% more traffic, which was the largest online rise out of the top 10 automakers.
A number of factors would have influenced this. Mitsubishi continued to hit its numbers with its stable and reliable models, from the Triton to Pajero. Late last year, the automaker also generated media buzz by announcing a complete product renewal to its core six models by 2020.
Mitsubishi also shifted gear when it came to their online strategy. Let’s see how over the next few charts.
Mitsubishi has shifted its online channels to drive more traffic to its site
Search is understandably the largest traffic source to the automotive industry. But Mitsubishi relied less on this channel, at 63.7% of all clicks, compared to other top automakers at 66.4% on average.
Instead, Mitsubishi saw a higher share of traffic come from Auto Classifieds sites like Cars Guide, Print Media sites like The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun and Perth Now, and Portal Front Pages like nine.com.au. These traffic sources grew significantly YoY, and outpaced other top manufacturers.
Almost one in three visits to Mitsubishi’s site led to its “Special Offers”
Once on the automaker’s site, the user’s journey differed on Mitsubishi compared to other top automakers.
Mitsubishi was among the top converters to its Special Offers section. The automaker had a 30.6% visit-to-offer ratio in January to May, compared to other top automakers at 24.4% on average. So, almost one in three visits to Mitsubishi’s overall site had led to its “Offers” section.
In contrast, Mitsubishi had a lower conversion rate for its Dealership pages at 6.2%, but this section has seen a significant 60% rise YoY.
So what does this data tell us?
Mitsubishi’s diverse online strategy has paid off. The automaker relied less on search, and utilised other sources to drive traffic, such as display ads and product reviews on key media sites. The automaker also enticed shoppers to its Special Offers section and strengthened their Dealership offering onsite.
If you are an automaker, benchmark your own channels and onsite performance against the industry and top risers. For more information on Hitwise’s services in the Automotive industry, contact us here.
Chart 1: Total Vehicle Sales by Manufacturer – Source: Vfacts Australia, January to May 2018 YoY.
Chart 2: Vehicle Sales YoY vs Online Visits YoY – Source: Vfacts and Hitwise Australia, January to May 2018 YoY.
Chart 3: Traffic Sources Mitsubishi vs Top Auto Manufacturers – Source: Hitwise, January to May 2018 YoY.
Chart 4: Conversion Rate to Special Offers & Dealership Pages – Source: Hitwise 2018. Average visit-to-custom section rate, over Jan-May 2018
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