E-commerce gained enormous popularity over the past few years. The explosion of the internet and the availability of products at cheap or discounted prices have drawn shoppers online.
Moreover, many companies operating with conventional supply chains as well as new players have stepped forward into the e-tailing landscape by either selling their products via portals or through their e-tailing sites.
Few portals also provide door-to-door delivery, free technical advice and installation support to reach customers across the globe and offer them support through technical expertise and products/services.
One just has to look at the popularity of Rock Auto, Amazon and eBay to see how this is impacting the automotive aftermarket. This is an industry now at a major tipping point in its transformation toward e-commerce.
More transactions regarding automobiles and automotive parts such as engine components, electrical and electronics products, infotainment multimedia, pistons, rings, bearings, valves and filters, tires, wheels and interior accessories are being carried out over the internet and include both business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales.
If you’re not familiar with automotive e-tailing, it offers a convenient way for consumers or businesses to purchase a wide range of vehicles and components online instead of conventional brick-and-mortar stores.
This area is set for substantial growth in the future, even though it’s a niche market. Some of the primary reasons behind this are the increasing number of vehicle production, the cheaper prices of automotive components, the easy availability of electronic parts and the augmenting demand for electric and hybrid vehicles in the world.
However, the increasing trend of do-it-yourself (DIY) regarding e-tailing is another factor pushing the growth of the market. Furthermore, the rise in disposable income of consumers, the proliferation of the internet and smartphones, government initiatives for promoting electric vehicles and the entry of new players into the market are supporting the growth of the automotive e-tailing market.
A recent report by Allied Market Research indicates that the global automotive e-tailing market is on the cusp of seeing considerable growth soon.
And much of that growth is expected to take place right here in North America (the Asia-Pacific region is the other area ready to boom). North America holds a significant share in this market globally due to high internet penetration rates among consumers and retailers.
Specifically, Canadians are increasingly turning toward online shopping and this includes purchasing vehicle parts. The automotive e-tailing market here is expected to increase drastically in the coming years due to an increase in the sales of auto parts and accessories.
Young people appear to be ahead of the curve, according to a recent Automotive Industries Association of Canada report, Understanding Millennials: A Quick Profile of Young Canadian Vehicle Owners 2021-2022. It found that nearly one in five (19 per cent) of Millennials — those aged 25-44 — purchased a vehicle part or fluid online. That’s compared to just 13 per cent of all other Canadians over the age of 18. Online research is mostly done by Millennials, even if they buy in-store — 26 per cent compared to 19 per cent.
The aftermarket industry in Canada depends greatly on automakers. There is a huge demand for automobiles across the country. However, new vehicle sales are struggling. DesRosiers Automotive Consultants called the market “depressingly weak” in July as sales fell 16.2 per cent compared to the same time last year.
Taking a quick look at the Asia-Pacific region, the reason for its prominence for automotive e-tailing globally can be attributed to a rise in internet penetration, increasing urbanization and the growing consumer awareness regarding vehicle maintenance. In addition, growing e-commerce sales across countries such as China, India and Japan are likely to drive demand for automotive e-tailing platforms in the region.
Players in the automotive e-tailing market focus on seizing opportunities and adopt strategies such as product launches and partnerships to expand their portfolio and offerings to the customers, increase market share and differentiate from their competitors.
In May 2022, Carousel Motor Group (CMG), a part of the Pohlad Companies, introduced an e-commerce platform called Carousel Online. Carousel built the platform in collaboration with Cox Automotive, Inc., a leading automotive service organization to simplify the online buying and selling experience for customers. The purchasing procedure is fully digital. The platform offers 360-degree virtual tours, complete information vehicle information, and trusted trade-in evaluations, among others.
In November 2021, a U.S.-based automotive aftermarket parts retailer Advance Auto Parts introduced a new retail concept called Carquest by Advance Store. Targeting the automotive DIY channel, the store serves the needs of independent owners who receive DIY support regarding operations and merchandising from Advance. Carquest offers DIY automotive parts and products, and interior and exterior signage, among others. Carquest by Advance also provide free curbside services such as battery testing and installation, wiper blade installation, and more.
In December 2021, Hero Electric, India’s leading electric scooter company entered into a partnership with carandbike.com to sell its range of electric two-wheelers online. The website allows Hero Electric customers to book the vehicles and take the test drive and receive the delivery of the scooter via a nearby Hero Electric retailer.
In July 2020, Piaggio Vehicles Pvt. Ltd., a leader in 3-wheeler cargo and diesel passenger in India launched a new e-commerce platform called Ape Auto Mall for its commercial vehicles. The platform offers the company’s Ape range, both cargo and passenger carriers. Around the same time, Piaggio India launched two e-commerce platforms to sell the Vespa and Aprilia branded scooters online. The platforms allow customers to select and book their desired scooter based on model, variant and colour option, complete the buying procedure digitally and get the vehicle delivered to their homes. The site also enables buyers to get information on ex-showroom and on-road prices and helps them calculate the EMI and apply for a loan before booking the vehicle.
The landscape is changing. Traditional automotive aftermarket players need to find ways to adapt. The right strategy will depend on your type of business — but moving toward the future is a must.