Survey on the Automotive Subscription Market. Companies are chasing Toyota's KINTO [April 2022].

Survey on the Automotive Subscription Market. Companies are chasing Toyota's KINTO [April 2022].

Automobile subscription services have gained increasing recognition throughout Covid-19. This article analyzes and explains the current status of the automobile subscription market and the companies that provide the service, several years since the beginnings of the service, using website traffic data.


Past Trends in the Automotive Subscription Industry

Due in part to the recent "share more than own" movement and the influence of Covid-19, subscription services for automobiles are also becoming more prevalent, eliminating the need to own a vehicle.

In the following pages, we'll use data to analyze the market from its early days to the present, focusing on three representative services, "Nissan ClickMobi”, "Honda Monthly Owner," and "KINTO," the automobile subscription service that pioneered this market.


First, we will summarize the past developments of the three services. The car subscriber market was born when KINTO, provided by the Toyota Group, launched its service in January 2019. Then, about a year later than KINTO, Honda launched their "Monthly Owner" service in January 2020, and Nissan launched "ClickMobi" in March of the same year. Together, these three services shaped the early days of automobile subscriptions.


Subsequently, the automobile subscription market has expanded, attracting attention from the segment of the population that have ‘reduced their regular use of private cars’ as a result of the curfew that began with Covid-19. The most recent news is that KINTO will also begin offering used car subscriptions in mid-2022, which is expected to meet consumer demand for a temporary supply of passenger cars in response to the current shortage of semiconductors and delays in new car delivery due to the pandemic.

In Europe and the U.S., subscription models were launched on a trial basis by various manufacturers earlier than in Japan, and are still showing a certain level of popularity. In 2017, Porsche and Volvo launched "Porsche Passport" and "Care by Volvo," respectively. Volvo, under the name of "SMAVO," was one of the first to offer the service in Japan at the same time as its European and U.S. rollout.


Even the so-called "foreign car” luxury car manufacturers have begun to offer subscription models. Therefore, it is likely that users with luxury tastes will emerge in the future, such as those who want to subscribe to luxury cars that they cannot afford themselves, in addition to those who want to reduce the running costs of owning their own cars or who want a car for temporary use.

A review of the past three years in the automotive subscription market with Dockpit

In the previous section, we wrote about the current state of the automobile subscription market. Let's examine data from three services, KINTO, Clickmobi, and Monthly Owner, using the behavioral log analysis tool Dockpit.

First, here are the number of user visits to each service website from April 2019 to September 2020, the dawn of the industry.

 Number of users visiting "KINTO," "ClickNavi," and "Monthly Owner" ("Dockpit" screen capture)

Number of users visiting "KINTO," "ClickNavi," and "Monthly Owner" ("Dockpit" screen capture)

Period: April 2019 - September 2020
Devices: PCs and smartphones

Comparing the number of website users for the three services, KINTO appears to have steadily increased its user base since the service was launched. In particular, from the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2020, monthly visitors, which averaged around 300,000, began to exceed 400,000. Perhaps this is due to the increased interest in the automotive subscriber base following the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, ClickMobi saw a temporary rise in the number of visiting users in May 2019, at the dawn of the market. This was due to the impact of ClickMobi's limited, trial service rollout in the Tokai area prior to its official launch.

Next, we will also look at the number of site users from October 2020 to March 2022, the most recent period. We start with the data for ClickMobi and Monthly Owner.

Number of users for ClickMobi and Monthly Owner ("Dockpit" screen capture)

Number of users for ClickMobi and Monthly Owner ("Dockpit" screen capture)

Period: October 2020 - March 2022
Devices: PCs and smartphones

The number of users visiting the sites of the two services appears to have remained at a level not exceeding 100,000 users, similar to the previous period.
Overall, there are slightly more ClickMobi users, but the difference is in the thousands to tens of thousands of users.

Note that the number of Monthly Owner users jumped temporarily in May 2021, but since a new subscriber plan called "Raku Raku Marugoto Plan" was also launched at that time, so this increase in users may have been influenced by the increased coverage at the time.

Let's also take a look at the differences in customer attraction structures between the two.

Customer Attraction Structure of "Click Navi" and "Monthly Owner" ("Dockpit" screen capture)

Customer Attraction Structure of "Click Navi" and "Monthly Owner" ("Dockpit" screen capture)

Period: October 2020 - March 2022
Devices: PCs and smartphones

In terms of routes to attract customers to the site, "social", "display ad" and “e-mail" are the most common for ClickMobi, while "organic search" and "paid search" appear to be the most common for Monthly Owners.
This situation suggests that ClickMobi and Monthly Owner seem to be placing more emphasis on reaching potential car subscribers and actual users, respectively.

Changes in the number of users of KINTO(captured from ’Dockpit')

Changes in the number of users of KINTO(captured from ’Dockpit')

Period: October 2020 - March 2022
Devices: PC, smartphone

We mentioned that KINTO began to exceed 400,000 monthly users in the previous period's data, and since then, the number of visitors has steadily increased during the pandemic, reaching 1 million monthly users accessing the site in August 2021.
Since then, we can see that the site has maintained several times the number of accesses compared to the other two services.
Let's take a look at KINTO's customer attraction structure.

KINTO's customer attraction structure (Dockpit screen capture)

KINTO's customer attraction structure (Dockpit screen capture)

Period: October 2020 - March 2022
Devices: PCs and smartphones

KINTO's customer acquisition structure gives the impression of a good balance between approaches towards the actualized customer, such as "organic search" and "paid search," and approaches to the potential customer, such as "display ad" and “e-mail," in about same proportions. There seems to be no bias toward one or the other, and there seems to be an effort to increase the number of users through a wide range of channels.

The age of users is also less skewed than the other two services.

Age of users visiting "KINTO," "ClickNavi," and "Monthly Owner" ("Dockpit" screen capture)

Age of users visiting "KINTO," "ClickNavi," and "Monthly Owner" ("Dockpit" screen capture)

Period: October 2020 - March 2022
Devices: PCs and smartphones

The above graph shows that ClickMobi has few young users in their 20s and 30s, and a high percentage of users in their 60s. Conversely, Monthly Owner has a relatively large number of younger users, but a smaller percentage of older users in their 70s and above.
Compared to the two services, KINTO attracts a well-balanced proportion of both young and elderly users, giving the impression that it follows a similar trajectory to the "All Users" graph.

The abundance of channels for attracting visitors and the well-balanced reach to all age groups may be one of the reasons for the large increase in the number of users visiting KINTO.

Summary

We have conducted market research of the three automobile subscription services, and KINTO, which attracts the most users, is characterized by its well-balanced approach to a wide range of age groups.

However, the automotive subscription market is still in its infancy, having only been around for a few years. While there are successful cases like KINTO, it is not a market that originally had a pool of mature customers in terms of needs. Business operators will need to explore the question of which age group, and what approach to take in order to promote car subscription as they proceed with their business activities.

In fact, as a result of this trial-and-error process, KINTO may be in a situation where it is able to attract users of all ages in a well-balanced way. We are in a phase where we should work with customers to determine what kind of applications and who should use this service, and grow the market in the future.

We would be honored if this survey is useful for your marketing work and market research.

About the "Dockpit"

The data in this investigation is from “Dockpit”, an analysis tool with online behavior log data and user demographic information under the permission of panelists in Japan presented by VALUES, Inc.

※The numbers of users are estimated by the data in the monitor and the internet population in Japan.

dockpit Get free version

※日本語での記事はこちらをご確認ください

自動車サブスク市場のWebサイトユーザー数を調査。トヨタのKINTOを各社が追う構図に【2022年4月】

https://manamina.valuesccg.com/articles/1765

コロナ禍を通じてサービスへの認知がの高まってきた自動車のサブスクリプション・サービス。本記事では、黎明期から数年経過したいま現在の自動車サブスク市場と、サービスを提供する各社の現状を、Webサイト訪問者のデータを用いて分析・解説していきます。

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