This Week's Top Advanced Vehicle Design News
July 7, 2021—The COVID-19 pandemic greatly challenged how businesses and individuals in every industry operate. While many quick lube, repair and auto body shops stayed open during the pandemic, the processes and systems for how to run the business had to evolve and adapt.
And whether it’s the automotive industry or any other, one of the most notable trends that was amplified during the pandemic was the growth of e-commerce.
According to the Auto Care Association’s 2022 Factbook, the automotive aftermarket industry experienced an unprecedented increase in e-commerce adoption, driven primarily by COVID-19 and the corresponding shift in consumer preferences towards shopping online. As a result, 2020 e-commerce sales of new automotive parts and accessories exceeded $16 billion, representing a year-over-year growth rate of roughly 35 percent.
Now while the industry was on a steady growth path prior to COVID, the pandemic exacerbated it. It brought distant thoughts and realizations closer to the forefront, and it’s important that repair shops take notice, said Jim Lang, publisher of Lang Marketing, which aided the ACA in its data and research efforts.
“It is disruptive, no question about it,” Lang said. “Now whether it’s to the benefit or detriment to shops… that’s more complicated.”
While e-commerce is rapidly growing, what makes up e-commerce is shifting. In 2016, an overwhelming amount of the eCommerce transactions in the aftermarket industry were occurring for DIY repairs. But this recent growth isn’t attributed to that. Instead it’s coming from what is categorized as “Online to Offline” (o2o), which are sales that involve the online purchase of auto parts by a consumer that are then installed by do-it-for-me (DFIM) outlets.
Consumers are buying parts online from Amazon, Walmart or a more traditional parts seller’s website and bringing it into shops that the platform has approved.
That, Lang says, presents an opportunity for repair shops.