Consumers report they’re purchasing more auto parts online now than they did three years ago, and greater availability of ‘How-To’ info, more comfort generally with purchasing online, and older vehicles are driving the surge, according to a new online survey conducted by AutoPartsWarehouse.com.  The survey also revealed that consumers believe that saving money and the ability to comparison shop are the top benefits of purchasing auto parts online. Car Repair

The snapshot survey, which was conducted among over 3,200 online auto parts shoppers, was almost evenly split between occasional DIYers and frequent DIYers, with less than ten percent identifying themselves as DFMers (usually go to repair shop/dealership for auto repairs) and another 10% as auto mechanics.

“This survey confirms that consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable purchasing parts online, further empowering themselves when their vehicles need repairs, whether by saving money, comparing pricing and/or installing parts themselves,” said Shane Evangelist CEO of AutoPartsWarehouse.com.  “And it makes sense. With an aging vehicle population, more consumers DIYing and repair shops willing to install parts purchased online, it is no surprise that almost 90% surveyed are more likely to buy auto parts online in the future than at the store or dealership.”

CONSUMERS REPORT PURCHASING MORE PARTS ONLINE NOW THAN IN PREVIOUS YEARS

The survey revealed that occasional/frequent DIYers are doing more online purchasing of parts than they were a few years ago, with seventy-eight percent reporting that they are purchasing more parts online today than they had in the previous 3 to 4 years.

When asked why they were purchasing more parts online today, a “greater comfort with purchasing things online” was the top reason, followed by more access to DIY auto repair info online, and owning an older vehicle ranking third.  Interestingly, while 31% cited the economy as a reason (“the economy has impacted my financial situation, so I am doing more of my own auto repairs to save money”), it was the bottom-ranked choice, indicating that the macro forces of increased adoption of e-commerce and online information in general, as well as a longer vehicle ownership cycle, are trumping financial challenges, perhaps a reflection of improving economic conditions.

And survey respondents indicate that online parts purchasing is definitely in their future, with 89% saying they are more likely to buy auto parts online going forward than at the store or dealership.

SAVING MONEY AND COMPARISON PRICING – TOP BENEFITS

When asked to rank the top benefit of purchasing parts online, saving money was cited as the top benefit, followed by the ability to compare pricing and the availability of a bigger selection.

Clearly, cost savings are the big impetus behind increased auto parts shopping. And the survey also revealed that 90+% believe that they would save by purchasing online. For instance, 60% believe they could save 20% or more, and only 9% believe there is no difference between the price of parts online and at a store or dealership.

Although the majority of respondents overall cited cost savings as the number one benefit, the most frequent online parts buyers cited the ability to compare prices as the top benefit (41%).  But for infrequent online parts buyers (who tend to only buy parts when their vehicles need them), saving money and easy installation ranked as the top factors that would make them buy parts online more frequently in the future. Of those surveyed who never purchase parts online, the top reason given for visiting auto parts websites was to benchmark how much it would cost to replace a part they were having issues with.

ONLINE PARTS PURCHASERS BUYING BASIC AND COMPLEX PARTS FOR DIY

For these self-reported DIYers, parts that are relatively easy to install are, of course, popular, but complex parts categories are also being purchased for self-installation.

The most purchased parts by survey-takers (among the most common parts categories) were exterior parts (such as mirrors, lights, bumpers, fenders, grilles, hoods,) followed by brake-related parts; air filters and exhaust system parts; engine / transmission-related parts; performance parts; and plugs, wires and ignition systems. Of the more complex, difficult-to-install parts, at least one in five reported having purchased one or more of the following: shock absorber and strut assembly, fuel pump or radiator. And nearly two-thirds reported that they purchased these complex parts to install themselves.

To learn more about likely Auto Parts Online Shoppers, check out the Audience Interests & Intent report available on the Research Store at ad-ology.com.

[Source:  Survey conducted by AutoPartsWarehouse.com.  21 Mar. 2013.  Web.  3 Apr. 2013.]