Independent repair shops that use social media to promote their business continue to show a clear preference for Facebook more than any other website. But Google Plus is growing in usage and is the clear number two social media website choice, according to the Aftermarket Business World 2018 Independent Repair Shop Study.
Some 71 percent of respondents said they use Facebook to promote their services and to offer coupons and specials, while 38 percent said they use Google Plus, a social networking platform from Google. The numbers exceed 100 percent because respondents were able to select more than one social network if they promoted their businesses through multiple networks.
LinkedIn was a very distant third choice as only 8 percent said they use that website to promote their business and Twitter was used by 6 percent. Those appear to be the two biggest losers from last year’s study, as LinkedIn dropped from 11 percent of users in last year’s study and Twitter dropped from 14 percent last year.
Google Plus showed the strongest growth from last year’s study as it increased in use from 28 percent of independent repair shops last year to 38 percent this year.
Some 41 percent of respondents said their sales of the surveyed products increased in the last 12 months compared to the prior 12 months, while 51 percent said sales stayed the same.
Independent repair shops enter 2018 with optimism as 45 percent said they expect their sales of the surveyed products to increase in 2018, while 52 percent said they expect sales to remain the same.
The shops also show confidence in gross margin expectations as 50 percent said they expect their gross margins on the sale of the surveyed products to increase in 2018, while 47 percent said they expect their margins to be the same.
Quality is the number one part need of 35 percent of independent repair shops in this year’s study, followed by OEM form, fit and function (22 percent); availability (20 percent); and price (16 percent).
Regarding preferred suppliers, 42 percent of independent repair shops said they prefer to buy from auto parts retailers and 32 percent prefer to buy from warehouse distributors, while 18 percent favor jobbers and 8 percent prefer to buy parts from dealerships.
Methodology: The 2018 Independent Repair Shop Product Study was fielded to readers of Motor Age magazine via email. Survey results are intended to show general market trends, not statistical certainties, as results were generated from a small sample audience.
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