New Delhi–Almost 70 per cent of Indian automobile sales, valued at $40 billion, will be digitally influenced by 2020 compared with $18 billion today, a joint report by management consulting firm Bain & Company and Facebook said on Thursday.

The report, titled ‘Changing Gears 2020: How Digital is Transforming the Face of the Automotive Industry’, found that digital engineering, 3D printing, smart sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) are poised to disrupt auto R&D, manufacturing, sales, marketing and after-sales services.

“As digital technologies cause disruption across the value chain from manufacturing to after-sales service, rules of the game are changing and new opportunities and threats are emerging for auto makers,” said Karan Singh, Managing Director at Bain & Company India, in a statement.

Social media will influence about 40 per cent of sales valued at $23 billion by 2020, up from 20 per cent of sales today.

Nearly 80 per cent of online research is on mobile phones and this is expected to rise further with the increasing penetration of smartphones and mobile data connections.

“Digital has struck the automotive world with lightning speed and this transition to digital is only going to accelerate, today’s ideas go from drawing board to production in months rather than decades,” added Umang Bedi, Managing Director, Facebook India.

Most Indian automobile original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are behind the curve in digital investments, spending 10 to 11 per cent of their total marketing expenditure on digital mediums in 2016, the findings showed.

Though dealers have started to shift towards better digital engagement with their customers, more than 85 per cent of the dealers said they still use bulk SMS and database calling as their customer-targeting process.

By 2020, up to 40 per cent of consumers are expected to book repair and maintenance services online and about 30 percent will go online to purchase vehicle accessories, up from 14 per cent and eight per cent respectively today.(IANS)