Online sales of car parts

Online sales of auto parts projected at $3.5 billion in 2012

Note: this article was originally published in April 2012, for an updated forecast, click here for a more current article.

With the Catalyst 2012 conference this week — ChannelAdvisor’s annual ecommerce gathering — we thought this would be a good time to examine online sales of auto parts, aftermarket auto parts sales statistics and multichannel shopping.

Car part sales over the Internet

The growth in online sales of auto parts has been outpacing the rest of the industry for many years. In 2009 we saw the slowest growth rate at just under 10% over 2008. More recently, we’re seeing a robust growth rate again and we’re projecting online sales of auto parts to be just under $3.5 billion in 2012. This is purely retail sales of auto parts and excludes online auctions which would nearly double that number. (To be clear we look at auction sites as a channel because many online retailers sell through that channel; counting sales through auction sites would be double-counting.)

The newly-published BuyerZoom market research reports from Hedges & Company show distinct variations in how shoppers purchase various parts online. For example, buyers of camshafts are 16% more likely to buy their other auto parts and accessories from an online store than are gasket buyers or connecting rod buyers. On the other hand, consumers who buy gaskets are 29% more likely to buy the rest of their parts from chain stores than are camshaft buyers.

More aftermarket parts sales statistics: Buyers of camshafts and cylinder heads are 19% more likely to buy their other auto parts from eBay than consumers who buy gaskets. Camshafts are a fast growing category on eBay, and as a whole eBay Motors revenue is up well over 35% YTD.

The Internet is increasingly an important source of research for auto parts buyers and again, there are distinct differences in how the Internet is used depending on what the consumer is shopping for. Buyers of carburetors for example, are more likely to use the Internet to find information on parts and accessories before making a purchase. These consumers are 37% more likely to use the Internet for research than camshaft buyers.

For more information on Hedges & Company’s new BuyerZoom research reports, head over the the Market Research Store. Reports on gasket, cylinder head and camshaft buyers have been up for a few months, and we have recently published new reports on carburetor buyers, crankshaft buyers, fuel and oil pump buyers, and valve cover buyers. More reports will be published in April and May so check back often. BuyerZoom reports are a great tool for manufacturers or retailers of specific types of parts because they reveal how consumers shop for and buy these specific parts. BuyerZoom reports let you do a better job planning media and marketing strategy.

For more information on our pay per click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) services for the automotive aftermarket click here.

If you have any questions on our market research give us a call, we love to talk about data and aftermarket auto parts sales statistics!

10 replies
  1. George
    George says:

    Hi, my first time here. I found this posting and I find it really useful & it helped me out in my business. It gives a good perspective on what’s going on in the marketplace.

  2. Steve
    Steve says:

    Hi, this is very informative. I’ve been looking for this type of information and haven’t been able to find it! We’re considering opening an online store and it looks like that sales channel is going to continue to grow. We’re really struggling with two things for an online store, first of all, finding a programmer to set it up because t doesn’t seem like there are many good programmers out there. Second, I don’t understand how to collect all the product information that I’d need, it seems like that would take forever so if you have any suggestions I’d like to hear it.

    • hedgesandcompany
      hedgesandcompany says:

      Steve, there are a lot of web programmers/designers out there, you should be able to find one that can help you with a store. As far as product data goes, you are correct, that is a big challenge. Manufacturers are constantly updating part numbers and releasing new products. Also, around 50% of the part numbers in our industry are year/make/model-specific, with many part numbers going down to specific submodels and/or engines and transmissions. The largest single source of part number data for the performance and accessory aftermarket is Direct Communications, Inc. (DCi) in Des Moines, Iowa.

  3. Oscar
    Oscar says:

    hi guys,

    i found this post and it’s really helping me with my research, but i would like to know if the analysis has been done on the global market or just the uk one.
    this would be really helpful.

    thank you so much

    • hedgesandcompany
      hedgesandcompany says:

      Hi Oscar, thanks for stopping by. We’re not aware of a global analysis of online sales of auto parts, best of luck.

  4. Maxliner
    Maxliner says:

    Really interesting, I never thought auto parts will do great like this as well. Hope my business will be one of those that will do good. Great info, thanks.

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