Auto Service World
News   November 20, 2019   by Allan Janssen

What’s in your cart? New AIA report looks at online buying

The sixth report in the Automotive Industries Association of Canada’s Consumer Behaviour Series concludes that automotive e-tailing is poised for significant growth.

The new report, entitled ‘What’s in Your Online Cart? A Study of Automotive E-tailing in Canada’ examines new purchasing habits among Canadians, especially with regard to automotive replacement parts.

It found that all signs point to healthy sales opportunities online for makers and distributors of automotive replacement parts.

“Although this study did not measure growth in actual spend, it did measure the incidence of e-tailing and that number is set to increase from the most recently reported incidence of 19%,” the report’s conclusion states. “That number alone has nearly doubled the incidence seen in our 2016 study, which saw 10% of vehicle owners having shopped online for auto parts or fluids over the previous 12-month period.”

Among those who purchased vehicle parts or fluids online over the past year, the most common items were motor oil (33%), wiper blades (30%), tires (28%), windshield washer fluid (25%) and brake pads (22%).

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The purchase of each of these types of parts has increased since 2016 with the exception of brake pads.

The next tier of products purchased online would include filters (20%), accessories (14%), spark plugs (13%) and coolant (10%).

Loyalty in the online arena is still developing.

The survey of over 2000 Canadian consumers found that fully half of online purchasers (50%) could not remember the sites they have used in the past. Among those who remembered, the most commonly identified sites were Amazon (15%), Canadian Tire (11%) and RockAuto (5%).

“The fragmented space suggests that if a company is looking to enter the e-tailing market, they may need to work hard to cut through the clutter, get noticed and differentiate themselves,” the report concludes.

It also found that online shopping might end up hurting the ability of independent repair shops to build real-world customer relationships.

Other reports in the series include:

The Connected Car: Consumer Awareness of Vehicle-Generated Data

Maintenance & Repair: Views of 2,000 Canadians

Car Care Information: What Media Channels Are Canadians Using?

E-tailing: Online Shopping Habits of Canadian Car Owner

Under the Hood: How Canadians View Vehicle Maintenance and Repair

A copy of the reports are available free to members through their member account, and are also available for purchase to non-members at


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