Blockchain extras could boost automotive revenues by £90 billion

13 February 2019 Consultancy.uk

New research has found that Blockchain could enable the automotive industry to create a global market for ‘extras’ of over £90 billion in the next decade. The study found that drivers would be willing to pay extra to have services including traffic congestion management and automated payments. 

While blockchain technology continues to be viewed as a key piece of future infrastructure across many industries, corporations have recently been cautioned against it being viewed as a silver bullet. According to several recent studies, the volume of trade via blockchain has often been negligible to date, while a critical mass of use may be some way off, meaning the realisation of what its true potential is has yet to materialise.

At the same time, the coming decades are forecast to see hundreds of millions of consumers investing in connected cars. Drivers are thought to be broadly positive about a host of digital features in the cars of the future, with many willing to pay upfront for dignostics features, navigation services, emergency and maintenance services.Traffic congestion management and protected data access lead the pack

The automotive sphere presents a major opportunity for blockchain technology, in this sense, as it provides a market seemingly ripe for disruption at a time when a number of reports have suggested the early hype surrounding shared digital ledgers may have begun to die down. To that end, a new study from strategy and marketing consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners has found that blockchain is indeed edging its way into the automotive sector.

Of the possible services on offer by Simon-Kucher’s reckoning, survey participants said they were particularly interested in time-saving solutions. However, applications that reward good road behaviour, such as by offering adapted insurance rates for safe driving were also popular, with 11.7% citing this, or financial incentives for particularly ecofriendly driving, noted by 10.3% percent.

Paying extra

On top of this, car owners are so interested in the many ways in which blockchain can improve their experience behind the wheel, Simon-Kucher’s study revealed that many would actually be willing to pay extra for a number of blockchain-based services for their cars. At 27%, more than a quarter of participants said they would pay £8.80 every month for traffic congestion management services. Meanwhile 7% would pay £8.40 for protected data access and 12% would invest £6.30 for the remote control of vehicle, including locking/unlocking.

17% said that the hassle involved in paying out money for parking services, electric charging stations or toll areas would be worth paying automotive companies to deal with via automated payments, at a rate of £5.00. Finally, when buying a used car, 7% of consumers said they would pay as much as £4.40 for a blockchain-based system to provide the immutability of a vehicle‘s records, supplying its MOT data, proof of purchase and mechanical records in the process.

Blockchain applications are expected to become an important source of OEM revenues

On this basis, the total global revenue generated by 2030 for these extras could well hit the £91 billion mark, or €104 billion per year. Of that, some £32.81 billion (€37.4 billion) will be spent by consumers in Europe, representing the second largest potential market for the automotive monetisation of blockchain services.

Antoine Weill, a Partner in Simon-Kucher’s global Automotive practice, said of the findings, “The added value of blockchain applications for the end customer is obvious. Car manufacturers need to bear in mind that they can generate significant profit from these applications... The automotive industry should start adjusting its strategies and business models now, not only to expand their current offerings with blockchain solutions, but also to monetise them.”

UK Partner Dr. Peter Colman added, “This makes it clear that manufacturers can drive topline growth by investing in digitalisation. Every manufacturer should have a digital plan, but too often that plan is all about the technology. Manufacturers need to remember that ultimately it has to be about monetization, and how you make money! As such, blockchain solutions offer an interesting and innovative new approach.” 

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Four ways digitalisation is transforming car brands and dealers

16 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

From changing expectations from the customer to new stakeholders entering the industry, the digital transformation of global automotive industry means it is facing the wholesale transformation of its business model. In a new white paper, global consulting partnership Cordence Worldwide has highlighted four major digital trends that are transforming the relationships between car brands and dealers with consumers.

With digital transformation drives booming across the industrial spectrum, automotive groups are no different in having commenced large digital transformation programmes to improve productivity, efficiency, and ultimately profitability. Falling sales figures mean the automotive sector is facing an increasingly difficult road ahead, something which means companies in the market are even more hard pressed to find new ways to improve their bottom lines.

While it offers major opportunities, the industry’s move to digitalise is not without complications. It has triggered a series of major internal changes, which have presented automotive entities with the challenge of becoming a “customer-oriented” industry. A new report from Cordence Worldwide – a global management consulting partnership present in more than 20 countries – has explored how automotive companies are navigating the rapidly changing nature of digital business.

New business models

The level of change likely to be wrought on the automotive industry by digitalisation is hard to overstate. Automation could well lead to significant reductions in the number of accidents, higher vehicle utilisation and lower pollution levels, while leading to a $2.1 trillion change in traditional revenues, with up to $4.3 trillion in new revenue openings arising by 2030.

As a result of this colossal opportunity, it is easy to see why almost all automotive groups now have digital departments, with generally strong communication within the digital transformation and the customer approach. The changes to society which this may have are potentially distracting automotive firms from the change it is leading to in its own companies though, according to Cordence’s paper.

The automotive market is dead, long live the mobility market

Because of this, the sector’s business model is set to transform over the coming decades. With digitalisation speeding up the appearance of concepts such as car-sharing, a subscription package model will likely become more palatable. At the same time, car and ride-sharing models will cater to the sustainability criteria of millennials, who will rapidly become one of the automotive market’s leading consumer demographics in the coming years.

Antoine Glutron – a Managing Consultant with Cordence member Oresys, and the report’s author – said of the situation, “These ‘old school industries’ are now working on creating new opportunities, but in so-doing are facing challenges and threats: new jobs, new technologies, new ecosystem of partners, necessary reorganisation, different relationship with customers, and even new businesses. The customer approach topic is in fact a real challenge for car companies as it implies changing their business model and adjusting their mind-set to address the customer 4.0: from product-centric to customer-centric, from car manufacturer to service provider.”

Digital customer experience

In the hyper-competitive age of the internet, even top companies face an uphill challenge when it comes to holding onto customers through brand loyalty. Digital disruption has resulted in changes to consumer behaviour, which is forcing a range of marketing strategists to reconsider their old, possibly out-dated strategies. As modern customers wield an increasingly impressive array of digital tools and online databases, they and are now able to quickly and conveniently compare prices, check availability and read product reviews.

The automotive sector is no exception to this trend, according to the study. In order to adapt to the needs of the so-called ‘customer 4.0’, car companies will increasingly need to change their business model and move away from product-centric companies to customer-centric ones, from car manufacturers to service providers.

Glutron explained, “As an automotive company, you can no longer expect customer loyalty simply with good products; you must conquer and re-conquer a customer that “consumes” your service. The offer now has to be global, digital and personalised. Your offer has to be adapted to this customer’s needs at any given moment. A key issue related to data control is to build customer loyalty by creating a customer experience 'tailored' throughout the cycle of use of the 'car product': purchase, driving, maintenance and trade-in of the vehicle.”

One way in which the sector may be able to benefit from this desire for a tailored experience is via connectivity. Consumers are generally positive about new connective features for automobiles, and many are even willing to pay upfront for infotainment, emergency and maintenance services. Chinese consumers, where the connected car market is set to hit $216 billion, are already particularly interested in paying a little more for navigation and diagnostic features in their future new car. This can also enable automotive companies to exploit a rich vein of customer data, enabling them to rapidly tailor their offerings to consumer behaviour.

New automotive segments

Digital transformation has also brought with it the rise of completely new application areas. As mentioned earlier, the most well-known example is the autonomous or self-driving car, where the last steps forward were not taken by major automotive groups but by technology companies such as Tesla. While this may have given such firms the edge in the market briefly, a number of keystone automotive names will soon be set to take the plunge into the market themselves, leveraging their car manufacturing prowess and huge production capacities to their advantage.

Before companies rush to invest in this market, however, it is worth their while to remember that the readiness and uptake for such vehicles differs greatly geographically. For example, following a study published in 2018, 92% of Chinese would be ready to buy an autonomous car, compared with only around 35% of drivers in France, Germany and US. Meanwhile, the infrastructure of different nations will also be significantly less accommodating of the new technology.

Use digital for steering thr activity

Elsewhere, Cordence’s analysis has suggested that hooking the cars of tomorrow into the Internet of Things is also likely to see a rapid change in the business model for car maintenance, providing real-time diagnostics for problems. This presents chances for partnerships to improve the connectivity of cars, especially with tech companies; for example, PSA partnered with IBM for a global agreement on services in their vehicle. Meanwhile, data could also be sold to other parties with an interest in this data, such as the government, which could use it to manage traffic levels, or ensure that only adequately maintained vehicles take to the road.

Glutron added, “With the increase in the amount of client data and connected opportunities, the recommendation is to set up data-centric approaches. The value is now in the customer data. The general prerequisites are to rework the data model and the Enterprise Architecture and generally build up a data lake including data from all sources (internal and external, structured and unstructured).”

From automotive to mobility

Relating further to the idea of connectivity, the report claimed that automotive firms must now adjust their models in line with the provision of end-to-end mobility, rather than treating the sale of a car as an end point in their relationship with the customer. In order to realise this transformation, transformations are likely to become more and more important.

A network of partner companies means automotive firms can provide a global mobility experience. As the vehicle is increasingly connected to its environment, new partners can also be cities, governments, and other service providers within the global mobility services industry in which the car brands want to take part.

According to the study, the target is clear. Companies must look to a holistic transport service, offering to move customers from A to B in a unique and pleasant way – otherwise they might as well take public transport. At the same time, they should extend the services reachable “on-board” (especially the enhancement of the connectivity between the car and smartphones or other connected devices), and reach high standards in terms of user experience (online sales, online payment, customised experience during and after the use of the car).

Concluding the report, Glutron stated, “These mobility market transformations could be considered a threat for the car manufacturers. Quite the opposite: if they take up the challenge and review their business model so that they become the service provider – communicating no longer to a driver but to a ‘mobility customer’ – they can then take advantage of their expertise and their position as a historical player. The most convenient means of transport are cars, and building a car is highly-skilled work.”