Auto sector sees e-commerce slow to service channel due to COVID-19

IMR Inc., a full-service market research firm, has released its latest insights on independent repair shops’ e-commerce purchasing behavior.

In July of 2021, IMR Inc. interviewed 500 independent automotive and truck repair shops, nationally representative by location in the U.S., to understand their use of public e-commerce websites like Amazon, eBay, RockAuto, JC Whitney and others, for the purchasing of automotive parts. 

In 2019, 36.2 percent of independent repair shops indicated they purchase parts from these public e-commerce websites, while in 2020, 74.7 percent indicated public e-commerce websites as a method of parts purchasing. As of July 2021, 50.2 percent of shops are using public e-commerce websites to purchase parts and 45 percent of shops reported that they are purchasing “a little less” or “a lot less” from public e-commerce websites, compared to last year, IMR reports.

[RELATED: Five crucial e-commerce metrics for distributors]

By shop size, those with one to three bays report 13.8 percent of parts are purchased through public e-commerce websites, shops with four to seven bays reported 6.2 percent and shops with more than eight bays reported 4 percent of parts purchased this way.

IMR adds of shops with one to three bays, 42.1 percent reported “always” or “often” comparing prices from their regular suppliers to public e-commerce websites, while 10 percent of shops with four to seven bays “often” compare prices and 39.5 percent of shops with eight or more bays “sometimes” compare prices.

Overall, IMR reports survey data showed independent repair shops’ use of public e-commerce websites to purchase parts has declined from 2020, with the most cited reason for this decline being the resolution of major parts delays caused by COVID-19 (50.6 percent of responses). Shops also reported that public e-commerce website delivery takes too long (42.9 percent) and 43.2 percent said that their regular parts suppliers were less expensive than public e-commerce websites.

As of July 2021, independent repair shops reported purchasing a total of 6.9 percent of their parts through public e-commerce websites, while 93.1 percent of parts are purchased through traditional integrated/captive business-to-business applications/shop management systems, by phone, or supplied by the customer, IMR adds.

Learn how to move your used trucks faster
With unsold used inventory depreciating at a rate of more than 2% monthly, efficient inventory turnover is a must for dealers. Download this eBook to access proven strategies for selling used trucks faster.
Used Truck Guide Cover