Online dollar sales of the top hard parts categories — which includes brakes, application electrical, suspension, driveline and fuel system components — grew by 29 percent in the 12 months ending August 2018, according to The NPD Group's Checkout E-commerce Tracking, which is based on information collected from more than three million consumers through data provided by NPD partner Rakuten Intelligence.
"The hard parts categories are some of the fastest growing in the e-commerce channel when it comes to automotive products. While some are outperforming others, the most notable growth areas include categories that are considered to be non-distressed purchases like brakes and rotors," said Nathan Shipley, executive director and automotive industry analyst, The NPD Group. "These categories have historically been challenging for the typical consumer to shop online for, but this task is getting easier as online parts-lookup technology continues to emerge and improve."
Representing one-quarter of total hard parts sales, the brakes category is a particularly influential aspect of this market. According to NPD's Car Care Track, 15 percent of consumers who have made an automotive purchase have done so online; however, for brake part buyers that figure jumps to 27 percent. Checkout E-Commerce data uncovered that brake part buyers not only spend nearly three-times more, but also make more online purchases during the year than the average automotive consumer, making them a desirable consumer target. On average, brake part buyers spent $472 on automotive products online in the last 12 months (and this excludes their brakes purchases), compared to $165 for the typical automotive buyer. Brake part buyers made an average of six automotive purchases, versus two for the general automotive consumer.
"Consumer behavior is a critical component to understanding why brakes is a stand-out automotive category in the online channel. It boils down to the fact that immediate need is less of a factor for these products, leaving consumers with time to shop online. However, as e-commerce retailers evolve their shipping models, same-day delivery will become the norm and lead to a more intense competitive landscape in this space," said Shipley.
Checkout delivers the most comprehensive view of consumer purchase behavior for general merchandise categories, across all retailers over time, to help you understand how to adjust your marketing to fuel growth. Checkout E-commerce offers the most complete and accurate view of the online channel – 600+ e-commerce retailers including Amazon, Walmart, top industry specific retailers, direct-to-consumer and emerging players. Information is collected from more than 3 million consumers, through data provided by our partner Rakuten Intelligence (formerly Slice Intelligence) and NPD's own proprietary receipt-harvesting mobile phone app.