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Aftermarket Executives Say Cheaper Competition is Biggest Threat

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April 10, 2015—Fifty-five percent of North American automotive aftermarket companies admit their biggest fear is cheaper competition, while 51 percent reveal that when customers leave, the biggest reason is cost, according to research from sales-i, a supplier of sales intelligence software.

The 2015 Automotive Aftermarket Industry Trends Report, based on data from 421 executives across the industry, also reveals that face-to-face meetings are still the most successful sales setting, while cold-calling brings in the most new business leads. However, the use of social media is on the rise with 72 percent of respondents admitting that it will play a central part in their marketing strategy this year.

“The big four players across the automotive aftermarket industry dominate just 20 percent of a market that’s worth a whopping $138 billion," Kevin McGirl, president of sales-i, said. "That means now is a great time for smaller businesses to stand up and take their share of the market.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Best and worst selling products: Half of executives reported that brakes are the best-selling product with engine parts being the hardest to sell for over a third of businesses.
  • Traditional sales techniques still popular: Face–to-face meetings are the most successful sales setting for 45 percent of executives.
  • Slow to adopt online sales: Only 5 percent of executives reported that online sales bought in the most business.
  • Social strategy is key: 72 percent of respondents consider social media to be a central part of their marketing strategy.
  • Facebook rules: 56 percent of executives said their business was active on Facebook, with 31 percent on LinkedIn and 29 percent on YouTube.
  • Introduction of online lead generation: New lead generation tools in the automotive aftermarket industry include email marketing and online advertising as reported by 10.5 percent and 10 percent of respondents respectively. 
  • High customer retention rates: 90 percent of respondents reported that they retain their customers for longer than 5 years.
  • The value of customer data: 82 percent of aftermarket executives monitor customer spend, 77 percent monitor customer trends and 56 percent of respondents keep track of customer information using sales software.

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