automotive aftermarket industry trendsIn one of the most important automotive aftermarket industry trends, digital influence is driving billions of dollars in retail sales and it’s not stopping.

Our latest automotive aftermarket industry trends forecast shows that digital will influence nearly $152 billion in parts and accessory sales. That’s through all retail channels by 2021. This includes offline retail through chain stores like AutoZone or Advance Auto, automobile dealers, local independent brick & mortar retailers, and jobbers. Much of this is occurring on mobile phones.

Digital obviously already influences online sales, including online retailers and manufacturers selling direct to consumers (DTC), which is growing rapidly.

Unfortunately many brick and mortar retailers are still unprepared to bridge the digital divide.

Automotive aftermarket industry trends in 2018 include digital influence

Digital influence on #autoparts sales: $152 billion by 2021 through all brick and mortar retail channels as well as online and manufacturer direct-to-consumer (DTC). Click To TweetHedges & Company research over the past year or so has shown that 93% of auto parts buyers do online research before making a purchase, whether that purchase is made online or in a retail store. That is an amazing statistic. Digital influence among auto parts buyers is stronger than in many other industries.

Over half of parts buyers go to manufacturer websites during the pre-purchase research phase. More than four out of five parts buyers base their decision to buy on a brand’s online presence. Let that sink in for a moment: before making a purchase, even in a retail store, more than half of parts buyers visit a manufacturers’ website as part of the buying process.

Digital influence in auto parts sales: $152 billion by 2021

automotive aftermarket trends 2018Auto parts sales influenced by digital will hit $138 billion in 2018 and will grow to $152 billion by 2021.

Digital influence is defined as consumers doing online research before buying a part, finding information and verifying fitment on a manufacturer’s website, exposure to online advertising, finding product or reseller reviews, reading automotive forums, or conducting searches on Google or Bing.

If parts shoppers are doing research online, how are they doing it? Our auto aftermarket trends research shows the biggest category is online search (74% of all consumers), followed by auto parts retailer websites (73%), manufacturer websites (57%) and automotive forums (47%).

Amazon.com auto parts sales

amazon.com auto parts salesIn any article about automotive aftermarket industry trends, we have to include Amazon auto parts sales, which continue to climb.

Our forecast calls for Amazon to sell an estimated $7 billion in auto parts in 2018. That will grow to over $14 billion by 2020.

Most of these sales are from aftermarket parts & accessory sales.

These sales levels include sales directly from Amazon, known as “first party sales” or “1P.”

If you are buying directly from Amazon the product will show Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). This also includes third party sales through Amazon as a marketplace,  sometimes referred to as “3P.”

Manufacturers supply most of Amazon’s 1P sales. Manufacturers ship directly to Amazon or warehouse distributors (WDs) ship to Amazon.

Automotive aftermarket industry trends to watch in 2018

What’s next with digital influence in automotive aftermarket industry trends?

The integration of B2C and B2B sales models is a trend to follow, as digital influence continues to grow.

The growing trend of manufacturers selling direct is another aftermarket trend to follow in the aftermarket. Hedges & Company research shows that not only do over half of consumers visit manufacturer websites, about a third of them come to the website fully prepared to make a purchase, direct from the manufacturer.

Mobile continues to grow in the sphere of digital influence. Online sales of auto parts & accessories purchased from mobile phones will reach nearly $6 billion in 2018, a 30% increase over 2017. Mobile sales will be over $10 billion by 2021.