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Auto parts online purchasing habits study yields varied results

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 06:00
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Auto service and repair shop owners and technicians are getting more comfortable with some aspects of ordering auto parts online, according to the 2017 Aftermarket Business World Online Purchasing Habits study.

Those opposed to purchasing parts online decreased significantly in this year’s study compared to last year’s study. The number of respondents who said they never make online purchases of auto parts dropped to 30 percent in this year’s survey compared to 37 percent last year. Similarly, those who said they make online purchases all the time increased to 8 percent in 2017 compared to 5 percent in 2016.

More respondents appear to be comfortable with their routine of buying auto parts online. When asked how they find online retailers or websites to order parts from, 40 percent said they go to the website of the retailer that they normally use. This was an increase from 32 percent who said they do that in the 2016 Online Purchasing Habits study. Those using an online search to find the retailer or website to order parts from dropped slightly to 33 percent in 2017 from 34 percent in 2016.

But curiously, those who said they use either their smart phone or tablet or both to order auto parts online dropped to 67 percent of respondents in 2017 compared to 73 percent in the 2016 study. This runs counter to the trend of manufacturers making their websites perform seamlessly on smaller devices, such as smart phones and tablets.

When asked this year why they buy auto parts online, 36 percent said it was due to the ease of comparing prices and other options, 16 percent said it was for convenience, and 15 percent said they did if for wide product availability.

When asked what they dislike about buys auto parts online, 38 percent said it was the potential to order the wrong parts, 21 percent said shipping costs, and 12 percent said limited product descriptions.

Methodology: The Aftermarket Business World Online Purchasing Habits Study was fielded to readers of Motor Age via email. Results are intended to show general market trends, not statistical certainties.

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