The U.S. automotive aftermarket industry grew retail sales by 2.5% in 2018, according to The NPD Group. Not surprising. As we keep our vehicles longer, we need replacement auto parts to keep them fit for service and road ready.
What is a bit surprising however, is how quickly the aftermarket channel is evolving. The clear acceptance of e-commerce is rapidly and dramatically altering the long-standing buyer and seller relationship. With online transactions growing by over 30% in 2018, the automotive aftermarket is ripe for disruption.
In fact, a 2018 study by Hedges & Company revealed that 93% of auto parts buyers do online research before making a purchase, whether that purchase is made online or in a retail store. What’s so remarkable about that statistic is it shows digital influence among auto parts buyers is stronger than in many other industries.
Outdistancing the Competition
Amazon is the elephant in the room when it comes to the forces driving change in how the aftermarket is evolving. What makes Amazon so unique and fiercely influential is the very platform the transformative company was built on. Amazon, at its core, is the most powerful sales search engine ever created. And, they are now using that platform to alter and stake claim in the $369.2 billion-dollar global automotive aftermarket. It’s a compelling argument. Amazon provides auto parts customers with an almost effortless, unmatched means to find exactly parts they need. Coupled with the authority now inherent in the Amazon brand, the breadth of products offered and the speed of delivery, Amazon is well on its way to outdistancing the competition, including eBay Motors, Napa Auto Parts, Denso Corporation, Auto Zone, and Advance Auto Parts.
The point here isn’t that Amazon is the dominant force in the market. We all know that. The point is what are we, as automotive marketing and sales professionals, going to do about it? It’s past time for the late adopters to design and deploy their own strategic approach to meet the rapidly changing buying preferences of their customers.
Whether your strategy is to join up with Amazon or simply understand how your products can (or are) being sold there, a good place to start or advance your journey is to download our Orange Paper, “5 Facts About Automotive Aftermarket Brand Protection and Promotion on Amazon.”
Or, if you have specific questions, drop a note to Kevin Mullan. We’re always ready to talk marketing and offer perspective on your specific challenges.