Set against the backdrop of the ever-changing COVID-19 situation, Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) recently conducted its regular market tracking survey, with the results reflecting the range of experience in the current operating environment for road transport industry participants.
The independent market research surveyed regional and metropolitan truck owners, fleet managers, and business decision-makers considering purchasing a truck for their business in the next 12 months. Spread across multiple vocations, those surveyed hailed from various industries including construction and logistics, through to the retail trade and hospitality.
Undertaken by Fiftyfive5, a leading independent strategy consultancy, the key findings confirm the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the road transport sector.
No less than 93 percent of Australian truck-based operations have suffered an impact on their business as a result of the pandemic and ensuing public health measures. Of those, 39 percent described the disruption as ‘major,’ and one requiring systemic changes to business models and overall strategies.
Yet, despite the less than optimistic news, there was a silver lining in the form of stakeholder confidence, with 41 percent of road transport respondents confident their businesses will survive and thrive post-pandemic.
Interestingly, the survey found that truck operators are becoming increasingly reliant on a single brand to populate their fleet. Six in every ten owners (62 percent of respondents) are opting to remain loyal to one brand across their operational fleet.
IAL Head of Marketing and Customer Experience, Mr. John Walker, said the findings come at a critical time for the industry as it battles through unprecedented disturbance.
“One of the recurring themes we’ve seen come out of this report is the desire for many to stick to proven, tested products they know and trust, especially during a time of upheaval.
“The report shows that brand trust, product quality, and range are the key drivers of brand preference. This is closely followed by aftersales support, reliability, and total cost of ownership propositions,” Mr. Walker said.
Whilst the reporting period has been mired in broader industry disruptions, Isuzu Trucks again topped the charts in these critical preference indicators, building on positive past results in this space. The brand also bettered its competitors in the areas of brand trust, perceptions of product value, and was viewed most favorably by respondents about product range and suitability.
“There’s certainly a sense that disruption and uncertainty prompt a heightened sense of conservatism in consumers, especially in the case of capital equipment.
“This data helps to substantiate some of those foundations attributes that every buyer is looking for in a product. It’s perhaps amplified at this time but ensuring our customers have a safe and predictable interaction with the product.
“It’s been useful to note some of the more subtle changes in industry sentiment since the onset of COVID-19. We can see that some businesses have undergone significant upheaval but maintain a positive outlook on the prospect of recovery.”
On the procurement front, the findings highlight that it is those foundational product attributes that are still the most highly regarded, despite significant economic and operational disruption.
“Critically too, they point to a consumer base that continues to value quality, reliability and top-shelf service – all traits we continually strive to perfect as the country’s top-performing and highest-selling truck brand,” Mr. Walker concluded.