Note: this article is originally from June 2013. For an updated forecast, click here for a more current article covering online parts sales.
Online sales of auto parts and accessories continue to significantly outpace brick and mortar sales. It’s one of the biggest auto aftermarket industry trends to watch for 2013.
The growth in online sales of auto parts has been much faster than the rest of the industry for many years. This year will continue that trend and we’re forecasting online sales to grow by 15.5% from 2012. We’re projecting online sales of auto parts and accessories to be nearly $4.4 billion in 2013, up from a revised $3.8 billion in 2012.
This is purely retail sales of auto parts and accessories, and excludes online auctions which would dramatically increase that number. (We look at auction sites like eBay as a channel because many online retailers sell through that channel; counting sales through auction sites would be double-counting.)
Auto parts: projected 15.5% online sales growth in 2013
If you watch automotive aftermarket industry statistics, the 15.5% projected growth by online retail sales follows a 16.5% increase from 2011 to 2012 and a 12.4% increase 2010 to 2011. Many online retailers have seen robust sales gains and have invested in their websites and infrastructure.
In contrast to online retailing, 2013 started very slowly for many brick and mortar retailers—and manufacturers. Many companies came in below their sales forecasts. It remains to be seen how the year will end up for traditional brick and mortar retailers but right now we’re forecasting one of the slowest growth years since 2009—a year many of us would like to forget. Unless the second half of the year picks up, brick and mortar retail sales of auto parts and accessories will only show a 1.5% to 2% growth rate this year. Most aftermarket businesses seem to be up or flat vs. last year, but “up” is a very low number.
Auto aftermarket projections 2013
So what’s driving growth in online sales, other than the overall shift to online? Amazon’s helping lead the charge: A year ago Amazon was showing a very high growth rate in automotive parts and accessories, around 30% to 40% over the previous year. This year is a little slower (the same with eBay Motors) but still, Amazon is around 25% or better (although April and May have been much stronger according to ChannelAdvisor).
Marketing parts online: sales of auto parts on Amazon, eBay Motors
Amazon sells more auto parts and accessories than any other online retailer (again, we’re not counting eBay Motors as a retailer). And even though eBay Motors is not growing as fast as they were a year ago, they’re still moving 500,000 auto parts and accessories products every week!
Another factor for marketing parts online comes from hundreds of online retailers who started selling on eBay and Amazon, but are faced with constantly rising fees and are looking for ways to control their own destiny by selling on their own websites. Many of these online retailers are also getting more aggressive in 2013 with paid search and SEO to attract more customers.
Mobile is another influence, as shoppers living in a multi-screen world shift effortlessly from their computers to tablets to phones. Many online retailers see a spike in evening traffic on mobile devices, including tablets but especially smart phones.
Aftermarket marketing services or auto parts sales statistics
Need aftermarket marketing? Hedges & Company is a Google Partner paid search company serving the automotive aftermarket. Please read more about Hedges & Company SEO/paid search services. Or, if you have questions on our market research capabilities, call us: we love to talk about data and aftermarket auto parts sales statistics!