U.S. DIY Auto Parts: Market Size
The US DIY automotive parts market size was $53.5 billion in 2016 and was projected to reach $56.9 billion in 2018 at a CAGR of 6.54%.
- The US Do It Yourself (DIY) automotive parts market is a segment of the overall US automotive aftermarket. The DIY segment is expected to have a high CAGR from 2019 to 2025.
- Top players operating within this space include “AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, and O’Reilly Auto Parts.”
- Statista projected the US DIY automotive parts market size to reach $56.9 billion in 2018 from $53.5 billion in 2016 at a CAGR of 3.1%. Here is a screenshot of the data.
- Auto parts retailers target owners of vehicles older than five years. As of 2016, the 88 million such cars in the US indicated a relatively large market.
- Improved quality of vehicles means that owners can keep their cars for longer. As such, vehicle owners are “more willing to invest in repairs and replacement parts.”
- The increasing levels of wear and tear in vehicles due to longer miles driven. As of 2016, the total miles driven in the US was about 3.2 trillion miles.
We found the estimated market size of the US DIY automotive parts market from Statista. However, we corroborated our findings from Media Group Online made similar projections and provided additional data such as market drivers and so on. To obtain the CAGR between 2016 and 2018, we made the following calculations below.
- The US DIY automotive parts market size in 2016 = $53.5 billion.
- The US DIY automotive parts market size in 2018 = $56.9 billion.
- CAGR = ((2018 market size / 2016 market size) ^ 1/time) — 1 = (($56.9 billion / $53.5 billion) ^ 1/2 years) — 1 = 1.0313 -1 = 0.031 or 3.1%
As such, the CAGR of the US DIY automotive parts market from 2016 to 2018 is 3.1%.
U.S. DIY Auto Parts: Market Segmentation
We were able to find useful data regarding the market segmentation of the overall US auto parts market for certain key products and accessories. Below is an overview of our findings.
- According to new research by UPS and ComScore, 70% of automotive parts and accessories purchased by US men were self-installed, while 59% of those purchased by US women were self-installed.
- In terms of key products or replacement parts, the US automotive aftermarket can be bifurcated into tires, battery, brake parts, filters, body parts, wheels, turbochargers, exhaust components, and lightening & electronic components, among others.
- The US automotive tire market was valued at $57.9 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% during 2019–2024. This implies that the market had grown to $61.03 billion (57.9*1.054) in 2019. The passenger vehicles held the largest market share, of over 78% of the US tire market, in terms of sales volume in 2018.
- As per data by Grand View Research, the U.S. automotive battery aftermarket size is expected to reach $4.2 billion by 2025 and is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 1.4% over the 2019-2025 period. Using the reverse CAGR calculator, the market size in 2019 computes to $3.86 billion [4.2/(1.014^6)]. The top three US companies operating in the automotive aftermarket batteries industry include East Penn Manufacturing Company, Exide Industries Ltd., and Johnson Controls. Most automotive aftermarket batteries are manufactured by these companies in the US.
- The US automotive air filters aftermarket size was valued at $513.2 million in 2018. The market has been growing constantly since 2014 and has increased from $453.4 million in 2014 to $471.8 million in 2015 to $513.2 million in 2018. This represents a CAGR of 3.14% [((513.2/453.4)^(1/4)-1)*100] over the 2014-2018 period.
- As per O’Reilly Auto Parts, its total addressable market in the DIY sales and tire sales segment of the overall US automotive aftermarket is approximately $90 billion to $100 billion. This includes the auto parts share of professional service provider sales at wholesale and DIY sales at retail.
- Some key players operating in the automotive aftermarket in the US include 3M, Continental AG, Delphi Automotive PLC, Denso Corporation, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. To combat the growing competition in the US automotive aftermarket, key players are adopting a mergers and acquisitions strategy to increase their market share and retain their market position.
U.S. DIY Auto: Video Consumption
Most U.S. DIY auto consumers leverage YouTube for DIY instructional videos. Also, a majority of DIY auto consumers are mostly attracted to instructional/how-to videos. Below is an overview of the findings.
Where They Seek Content
- According to interviews of automotive experts on Auto Service World, most U.S. DIY auto consumers are turning to YouTube for DIY videos.
- Aftermarket parts producers such as CPR Automotive and Continental Automotive also seem to be picking up on the trend with both frequently posting educational videos on YouTube to offer advice to consumers regarding parts choice and to provide simple how-to instructions.
- While there is no available quantitative data on the share of auto DIYers who seek out DIY videos on YouTube, this is in line with Venveo’s findings that 90% and 41% of all DIYers (automotive or otherwise) turn to YouTube and Pinterest for DIY project ideas.
Why They Seek Content
- Based on sentiments by experts from CPR Automotive and Continental Automotive, DIY auto consumers seek DIY videos for both parts advice and instructional content on how to change or install those parts.
- Since data on why auto DIYers seek videos is limited, the research team explored the top automotive DIY channels on YouTube based on lists provided by Interesting Engineering, Dignitas Digital, and Hemmings to understand the kind of content that is popular with DIYers. The logic was that a certain type of content would be popular if a large number of DIY consumers subscribe to channels that offer the content.
- Both Scotty Kilmer (3.8 million subscribers) and ChrisFix (7.16 million subscribers) channels provide instructional/how-to videos on car maintenance and repair. EricTheCarGuy (1.52 million subscribers) provides how-to videos, as well as content on vehicle modifications and engine upgrades. Scotty Kilmer and several other channels also offer some videos on how cars work.
- Based on an analysis of popular YouTube channels among auto DIYers, it can be deduced that DIY auto consumers are mostly attracted to instructional/how-to videos.
How They View Content
- Although Auto Service World states that millennial auto DIYers expect “how-to videos to be available on their tablets,” it does not provide any explanations or quantitative data.
- Since there was no data specific to auto DIYers, the research team used (DIY) industry-wide data as proxy for the auto DIY sector. Based on survey data provided by Venveo, 80% of DIYers in the U.S. use mobile phones to search for DIY projects. About 62% and 38% use laptops and tablets, respectively. It is likely that the same devices are used for searching and viewing video content.
U.S. Auto Parts Market: Online vs. In-Store
While the data specific to DIY auto parts online vs. in-store retail sales was not available in the public domain, we were able to find information about the U.S. online vs. in-store overall auto parts retail sales. In 2015, 92.94% of retail auto parts and accessories sales were in-store/offline, while 7.06% were online, compared to 2019, when 87.09% were in-store/offline while 12.91% were online. We have provided below a detailed annual break up of the same for each of the past 5 years (2015-2019).
- As per the analysis from Hedges & Co, the total U.S. online retail sales of auto parts and accessories in 2019 were $12.3 billion.
- The U.S. online auto parts sales have depicted an increasing trend over the past 5 years. For each of the past five years, the U.S. online retail sales of auto parts and accessories were $6.3 billion (2015), $7.6 billion (2016), $8.9 billion (2017), $10.6 billion (2018), and, as stated above, $12.3 billion in 2019.
- As per the data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the total retail sales of auto parts, accessories, and tire stores in 2019 stood at $95.295 billion (7.597 +7.815 +8.012 +7.985 +7.961 +7.944 +7.925 +8.077 +7.928 +8.018 +8.044 +7.989). The same has been computed by aggregating the monthly sales data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Hence, in 2019, the percentage share of online auto parts and accessories sales in the total auto parts retail sales was 12.91% (12.3/95.295*100). Consequently, the share of offline sales was 87.09% (100-12.91).
- As per the data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the total retail sales of auto parts, accessories, and tire stores in 2018 stood at $91.845 billion (7.544 +7.547 +7.552+ 7.560 +7.646+ 7.633+ 7.716 +7.666 +7.767+ 7.762+ 7.728+ 7.724). The same has been computed by aggregating the monthly sales data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Hence, in 2018, the percentage share of online auto parts and accessories sales in the total auto parts retail sales was 11.54% (10.6/91.845*100). Consequently, the share of offline sales was 88.46% (100-11.54).
- In 2017, the total retail sales of auto parts, accessories, and tire stores stood at $90.813 billion (7.578 +7.459 +7.558 +7.602+ 7.535+ 7.487+ 7.565+ 7.454+ 7.628+ 7.499+ 7.602+ 7.846). The same has been computed by aggregating the monthly sales data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Hence, in 2017, the percentage share of online auto parts and accessories sales in the total auto parts retail sales was 11.54% (8.9/90.813*100). Consequently, the share of offline sales was 88.46% (100-11.54).
- Further, in 2016, the total retail sales of auto parts, accessories, and tire stores stood at $90.261 billion (7.631 +7.584 +7.493 +7.390 +7.447 +7.533 +7.419 +7.493 +7.431 +7.502 +7.391 +7.947). The same has been computed by aggregating the monthly sales data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Hence, in 2016, the percentage share of online auto parts and accessories sales in the total auto parts retail sales was 8.42% (7.6/90.261*100). Consequently, the share of offline sales was 91.58% (100-8.42).
- Additionally, in 2015, the total retail sales of auto parts, accessories, and tire stores stood at $89.247 billion (7.182 +7.275 +7.330 +7.426 +7.468 +7.548 +7.584 +7.490 +7.431 +7.450 +7.569 +7.494). The same has been computed by aggregating the monthly sales data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Hence, in 2015, the percentage share of online auto parts and accessories sales in the total auto parts retail sales was 7.06% (6.3/89.247*100). Consequently, the share of offline sales was 92.94% (100-7.06).
U.S. DIY Auto: Social Media Use
Do-it-yourself (DIY) consumers of automotive parts and accessories in the United States use social media to watch instructional videos, read online reviews and recommendations, post curated content, and follow influencers. Details about how and why they use social media are provided below.
Watching Instructional Videos
- DIY consumers of automotive parts use social media, especially YouTube, to watch instructional videos about automotive parts and automotive repair.
- According to Cleveland-based Ryan Stuver, a channel retail sales manager for automotive parts distributor CRP Automotive, a lot of their DIY customers have been contacting them for automotive parts information and repair instruction, and they have responded by publishing instructional videos on YouTube.
- CRP Automotive has been publishing instructional videos for over four years now, and it has so far published over 100 instructional videos on YouTube, so it already has an idea of what works as far as instructional content is concerned.
- Based on the types of videos CRP Automotive has been publishing, it appears the following types of content are popular among the distributor’s DIY customers: personal stories of top-notch professional repair technicians about high-failure parts, common issues, common misconceptions, and bite-sized videos that are 1.5 to 2.5 minutes in length.
- Dayna Freeland, a DIYer, shared with The New York Times that she was recently able to fix her 2008 Ford F-150, which had a rusted frame, by buying an uncorroded frame at a salvage yard, reading parts manuals, watching YouTube videos, and chatting with other DIYers at the My Mechanics Place, an auto repair garage in Detroit that offers DIYers the venue and tools they need to carry out DIY repair.
- YouTube appears to be the social media platform of choice of most consumers of automotive parts, and most consumers of automotive parts are DIYers. YouTube is followed by Instagram and then Facebook. Ninety percent of DIYers in general report watching YouTube how-to videos while working on a DIY project.
- Surprisingly, though, YouTube does not figure among the social media platforms that, according to automotive research firm IMR, are frequented by DIY consumers of automotive parts. Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and Snapchat are the only social media platforms mentioned by IMR in its report.
Reading Reviews and Recommendations
- DIY consumers of automotive parts use social media to research and read online reviews and recommendations about automotive parts and automotive repair.
- DIY consumers, especially Hispanic male millennial DIY consumers, tend to conduct independent research and trust user-generated content more than brand-generated content.
- User-generated content in social media and family and friends are among the information sources they consult before arriving at a purchase decision.
- A study shows that of consumers of automotive parts, 38% turn to family and friends for information about parts, 26% turn to online video reviews (e.g., online video reviews on YouTube), 15% turn to Facebook, 7% turn Instagram, and 5% turn to Twitter.
- The tendency of online shoppers of automotive parts to use social media for research purposes had also been reported by UPS in a report it published in 2014.
Posting Content and Following Influencers
- DIY consumers of automotive parts use social media to post content about their automotive repair or restoration work and to follow influencers in the automotive aftermarket space.
- Auto enthusiasts not only use Instagram for visual stimulation and inspiration, but they also use Instagram for posting curated photos of their newly repaired, restored, or detailed cars. They are 2.6 times more likely than the average Instagram user to watch videos on Instagram.
- They also use social media to follow influencers in the space. This is expected to be especially true among millennial DIY consumers who tend to value the endorsements of influencers.
- Jay Leno of Jay Leno’s Garage and Chris Magello of ChrisFix are examples of influencers in the automotive aftermarket space who are popular among consumers of automotive parts. Jay Leno’s Garage has over 3 million YouTube subscribers, while ChrisFix has over 7 million YouTube subscribers.
- It is important for distributors of automotive parts to partner with social media influencers because almost half or 47% of DIYers report that they have started a DIY project because of something they saw on social media.
- Leveraging social media influencers is one of the best approaches to connecting with DIYers, according to the Forbes Communications Council.
Following Influencers and Posting Content
- Approximately 47% of DIYers report to have bought a product or started a DIY project because they saw it on social media. Hence, partnering with social media influencers is key for automotive parts brands.
- Leveraging social media influencers is one of the best approaches to connecting with DIYers, according to the Forbes Communications Council.
- Alan Enileev is an example of a Russian car influencer with about 2.1 million Instagram fans, which has influenced the opinions of millions of DIY auto consumers. Tim Burton has 1.8 million followers on YouTube while Alex Hirschi known online DIY expert has 2.3 million.
Reading Online Reviews and Recommendations
- DIY consumers turn to social media platforms to discover new products with more than 1 in 3 internet users referring to social media for more information about a product.
- Consumers use social media platform to gain access to customer testimonials, relevant advice, and recommendation for their various DIY auto activities.
- Italian DIY consumers tend to rely on comments and reviews provided on the internet and social networks by other DIY auto consumers.
- Positive online reviews of automotive products are crucial. About 84% of consumers trust them as much as a personal recommendation.
Watching Instructional Videos
- About 90% of DIYers report watching YouTube videos on how-to DIY during an actual project, while 41% of DIYers say they use P interest to find ideas for DIY projects.
- YouTube appears to be very useful among DIY auto consumers, with many watching tutorials on maintenance and other instructional videos on various topics regarding auto DIY.
- Through joining social media groups, DIY auto consumers have access to the collective knowledge of many people who are conversant with their particular vehicles and their common issues.
U.S. DIY Auto: Brands, Products Customer Journey
DIY autoparts shoppers in the US are likely to discover brands through influencers on YouTube. 94% of those visiting manufacturer’s websites are looking for more detailed product information. 82% of autoparts shoppers “base their decision on a brand’s online presence.” A detailed customer journey of the DIY auto consumer has been presented below.
- “DIY consumers are willing to change brands for a variety of novelty features. Millennial DIY consumers, in particular, are likely to be influenced by the latest trends and celebrity or influencers endorsement.”
- Influencers such as Jay Leno’s Garage, Regular Cars, Saabkyle04, ChrisFix, MotorTrend Channel, Donut Media, and Scotty Kilmer” have YouTube channels, making it a popular medium for DIY consumers to learn of new brands.
- DIYers (in general, not just auto) find ideas for projects on YouTube (90%) and Pinterest (41%).
- “ 93% of auto parts buyers do research before buying, regardless of buying online or brick-and-mortar retailers.”
- “ Online search is the most common research path (74% of parts and accessories consumers), followed by auto parts retailers websites (73%), manufacturer websites (57%), and automotive forums (47%).”
- “94% of autoparts shoppers look for detailed product information on the manufacturer’s website. When visiting a manufacturer site, they are searching for vehicle fitment info (84%), installation info (57%), warranty information (44%), and dealer locations (40%).”
- “Many parts shoppers don’t think they will see a manufacturer’s entire product line unless they visit a manufacturer’s website according to 43% of auto parts shoppers.”
- 44% of car parts shoppers visit the manufacturer’s website for warranty information.
- According to the 2018 SEMA US Market Data, consumers look for information on parts and accessories in:
- “They respond well to video content, trust online reviews, and are looking for cheap options.” Millennial men “place more trust in user-generated content.”
- The autoparts offline shopper is 40% less likely than the autoparts online shopper to use their smartphone to research products. They are also “71% less likely to seek out online reviews.”
- “Findings from a DIY focus group shows that these consumers are looking for help, not sales pitch when doing online research.”
- Over “65% of the traffic to auto parts and accessory websites come via mobile.”
- Purchase process according to vehicle need (2013):
- Time passed between research and purchase (2013):
Decision & Purchase
- “Millennial men are also more likely to buy auto parts online than other demographic groups.”
- 82% of autoparts shoppers “base their decision on a brand’s online presence, and 57% search for a manufacturer’s website before making a purchase decision.”
- “Shoppers typically visit a website multiple times before making a decision. The mobile phone is usually the last device used to buy the product.”
- “DIY consumers are more likely to buy wiper blades (65.2%), batteries (63.4%), air filters (38.9%), brake shoes/pads (23.7%), brake discs/rotors (31.2%), body repair parts (20.3%), and oil (16.5%).”
- 50% of autoparts shoppers visit a manufacturer’s website “in order to find out where to purchase a part.”
- “About a third of auto parts shoppers — 35% — come to a manufacturer’s website fully prepared to make a purchase, presumably at full MSRP.”
- How methods of purchase differ depending on the need (2013):
- Amount spent on parts and accessories (2013):
U.S. DIY Auto Parts Consumers: Online vs. In-Store
This research provides a comparison of United States DIY auto parts consumers who purchase products online and those who purchase products in-store. Business-to-consumer (B2C) buyers of auto parts tend to be DIY consumers; therefore, most studies, research, and articles on the B2C segment of the auto parts market refer to DIY consumers. Key psychographic and demographic differences between these online and offline shoppers have been provided below.
- RevolutionParts, a leading US-based e-commerce solutions provider in the auto parts market, conducted research into the similarities and differences between online and offline auto parts shoppers. Its findings reveal that online auto parts shoppers, who are typically DIY consumers, are willing to wait for a better price. Unlike traditional in-store shoppers who can quickly pick up their parts from a physical retail outlet, these online shoppers do not mind waiting as long as they get a better deal in terms of price.
- Shoppers who use online channels are interested in “price and convenience, not necessarily speed.” While consumers who shop in-store can simply drive to a local dealership and buy right away, these online shoppers are willing to wait for a week or more for their orders to arrive. If free shipping is available, online shoppers are willing to wait even longer to benefit from it.
- For in-store DIY auto parts shoppers, their top priority is “quick convenience and no delivery delay“. Therefore, the preferred purchase channel of DIY auto parts buyers is highly dependent on the urgency, convenience, and desire for cost-saving.
- For DIY purposes, millennial men are more likely to purchase auto parts online than other demographic groups. These online shoppers are typically married and middle-aged Americans. According to research by The NPD Group, 35% of these online auto parts shoppers are more likely to be male than offline auto parts shoppers.
- Additionally, online auto parts shoppers are 56% more likely to be married than auto parts consumers who do not buy online. Online auto parts shoppers usually live in the suburbs or rural areas, own their homes, and are more likely than offline shoppers to drive a vehicle or a motorcycle to work.
- Online auto-parts shoppers are more willing to conduct research before purchasing a product. Typically, automotive parts consumers who shop online are “somewhat familiar with the car market and they know which piece they’re looking for.”
- Due to the depth of research conducted, only 27% of online automotive shoppers return an item that they bought online. Since online auto parts shoppers know that fitment can be complicated, they conduct detailed research to ensure that they get it right.
- Auto parts shoppers who purchase offline are 40% less likely to use their smartphones in researching products they want to buy. Compared to online shoppers, in-store auto parts shoppers are also 71% less likely to search for online reviews for items they want to purchase.
Motivations and Interests
- DIY auto parts shoppers who purchase products in-store are typically interested in receiving advice from trained in-store personnel. Also, these offline shoppers visit physical stores for part identification assistance, diagnostic support, and basic installation assistance.
- In some cases, shoppers who are interested in having access to the services and advice offered by personnel at physical outlets usually buy online and pick up their products in-store.
- Online DIY auto parts shoppers, on the other hand, are interested in interacting with a clean and easy-to-navigate website. These digital buyers desire an “easy and accurate way to find the parts that fit their vehicle.”
- Unlike in-store DIY auto parts consumers who rely on support and advice from personnel, online shoppers are heavy internet users who actively “watch automotive videos on YouTube, and turn to Instagram for visual stimulation.”
U.S. DIY Auto Parts Consumers: In-Store Motivators
Immersive, tangible experience and convenience and no delivery delay are some key factors that drive U.S. auto DIY consumers to shop in-store.
Convenience and No delivery delay
- According to Mintel’s study, DIY auto parts shoppers in the United States do in-store buying for quick convenience and no delay time
- A study by the NPD Group shows that timing is everything for the automotive consumer.
- Unlike online auto parts shoppers who can wait even longer, in-store auto parts shoppers prefer to buy right away for speed and convenience.
- Immediate need motivates DIY auto parts shoppers to do in-store shopping. Purchasing in the physical stores allows for quickly getting the auto products required to urgently fix something that is broken.
- Physical stores can be “one-stop shops” for DIY auto parts shoppers. U.S. in-store shops like AutoZone have a wide range of inventory, allowing customers to pick different auto parts under one roof and within a short time. Such experience motivates DIY auto parts shoppers as they will not spend time searching or making multiple orders for everything they need.
- Physical auto parts stores score highly in the value of their proximity to clients. The immediacy of need makes these stores convenient shopping points and hence the DIY auto parts shoppers’ preference for in-store shopping.
Immersive, tangible experience
- In-store shopping provides DIY auto parts shoppers with an immersive, tangible experience.
- The human and tangibility aspects of the purchasing experience interests DIY auto parts shoppers to visit physical stores. They can engage retailers through targeted website content but link up with in-person centers for purchase completions.
- The simplicity of the purchasing process in in-store shopping motivates DIY auto parts shoppers. The interaction with knowledgeable sales associates simplifies the shoppers’ buying process and guarantees getting the exact part they want.
- In-store shopping enables DIY auto parts shoppers to get a taste of the lifestyle, image, and values exceptional to each brand conveys.
- DIY auto parts shoppers who purchase products in-store have an opportunity to seek advice from trained in-store personnel regarding auto parts and their usage.
- Also, part identification assistance, diagnostic support, and basic installation assistance motivate DIY auto parts shoppers to visit physical stores for shopping.
- According to Morningstar, DIY auto parts shoppers are economically motivated and rely on store personnel for diagnostics and guidance. Therefore, DIY auto parts shoppers favor in-store shopping to get necessary human support, easy returns, and broad part availability.
U.S. DIY Auto Market: COVID Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the U.S. DIY auto market mainly concerning consumer behavior, sales, and the auto parts industry itself.
Impact on Consumer Behavior
- Consumers have been driving less over the past few months and they have had more time to repair their cars at home.
- The fact that consumers had to spend more time at home and they should avoid mass transportation contributed to increasing their interest in repairing their cars by themselves.
- Also, avoidance of using public transportation and low fuel prices resulted in an increase in private car use.
- Distributors and auto part stores say that there has been a notable increase in consumers using e-commerce.
- During lockdowns, tutorial video support has encouraged the consumers to perform car repair.
- However, when needing diagnostic and professional repair support customers favor proximity.
Impact on Sales
- Light duty shop equipment, tire care, waxes/polishes, paints/coatings, and vehicle wash have grown by 44% between April and May.
- Body repair also increased by 44%.
- Body fillers increased by about 43%.
- Paint restoration had an increment of 23%.
- Concerning parts cleaners such as brake cleaners and engine degreasers, the increase reached 22%.
Impact on Auto Parts Industry
- Leading American retailer Advance Auto Parts has experienced a jump in sales of 7,5% due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- According to Tom Greco, who is the president and CEO of Advance Auto Parts Inc., COVID-19 has impacted household budgets, for which many people prefer to repair their car instead of buying a new one.
- Uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment also discouraged new vehicle purchases.
- Besides, Greco defines auto repair as an “essential business during coronavirus-related business shutdowns.” He claims that consumers had to decide between watching TV all day or repairing their car.
- Advance Auto Parts’ net income was up 52% over a year ago.
- In the United States, the DIY sector showed an important increase in comparison to the professional segment because of the pandemic situation.
- O’Reilly’s sales grew 16% while Genuine Part’s U.S. automotive unit saw a decline of 14%.
- Estimations state that U.S. GDP has declined by 5% in 2020.
- The mix shift between both DIY and professional segments would be approximately 10 points.
U.S. DIY Auto: Retailer Customer Journey
About 80% of DIY auto consumers in the US consider e-commerce platforms when choosing retailers. Smartphones, the internet, and easy access are significant factors contributing to US DIY auto consumers’ preference for e-commerce retailers.
- The US Do It Yourself (DIY) auto consumer’s typical customer journey involves the three stages of awareness, consideration, and decision.
- Consumers know that there is something wrong with their vehicle at the awareness stage and begin asking questions to determine the issue and find out if it can be fixed. Usually, the consumer leverages “troubleshooting guides, lists of common car problems, and online content that describe how to make a proper diagnosis.”
- The consideration stage is when consumers evaluate all the possible methods of solving the car problem. At this stage, they consider whether they can carry out the repair on their own or if they would have to take the vehicle to a repair shop (Do It For Me approach).
- Relevant content at the consideration stage includes videos that show what the DIY task would involve, how-to guides, and reference materials showing the required tools and processes.
- The decision stage is where consumers mostly do product research, i.e., what products would provide the solution, after which they make their purchases.
How They Consider/Research/Choose
- As DIY consumers migrate online, retailers such as Amazon are becoming “an extremely appealing option since DIY consumers are more price-sensitive, and often their purchases are less time-sensitive.”
- About 80% of them credit easy access to auto parts and accessories online as a motivation for undertaking DIY auto work. Also, roughly 33% of DIY auto consumers say, “the biggest factor supporting their repair and upgrade work is access to more how-to and tutorial content online than ever before.”
- In 2013, “the use of smartphones for researching car maintenance questions increased 74% from the previous year,” and the growth was projected to continue.
- Smartphones and the internet paved the way for the increasing growth of DIY auto consumers, most of whom rely on the same to obtain the tools and parts that they need and informational resources. As such, they tend to make most of their purchases from e-commerce platforms.
- Their affinity for community building, support systems, smartphones, and online processes such as video tutorials, how-to guides, and posts could indicate that US DIY auto consumers use social media to discover retailers.
U.S. DIY Auto: Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty in the DIY auto industry is very low as price-sensitive consumers are willing to switch to lower-priced products and also seek novel features. A good customer experience and brand trust drive loyalty.
How loyal these consumers are
- “With the exception of luxury sales, auto part DIY customers do not care about brand name parts.”
- While “brand quality and the perception of reliability plays into the customers’ decisions,” their real concerns are whether the product will fix their problem and whether it will fit the vehicle.
- “In the online world, brand loyalty matters less than the customer experience, including ease of navigation, clarity of pictures, functionality, and extra features.”
- Brand loyalty in the DIY business in general (not specific to auto) is very low:
Factors that drive loyalty
- “In an industry like auto parts where the safety of gear, the longevity of the machine, build quality are very important, trust is paramount. Interacting with customers even when they are not actively looking to buy auto parts builds the trustworthiness of the brand and increases the likelihood that they will stay loyal and purchase from the brand when the need arises.
- Millennials are “willing to participate in rewards and loyalty programs, especially if they can access it using their smartphones. Free shipping is the most valued reward from loyalty programs (52%).”
- “Advanced Auto Parts uses a referral program to identify and reward customers who recommend the brand. Up until 2017, nearly 3,500 customers had referred an average of four friends.
- Also, the company’s point-based loyalty program emphasizes customer service by offering VIP storefront parking to members and provides “access to product samples, exclusive events and experiences, and ten points for every dollar spent.”
- “Providing a good online customer experience to DIY auto parts customers encourages repeat purchases and continued brand loyalty. By focusing on enhancing shipping, delivery and returns experience through more options and convenience,” e-commerce portals can drive loyalty and have shoppers return (applicable to a brand’s own e-commerce portal ad to multi-brand portals).
- “Significant investments in its inventory capabilities, e-commerce functionality, B2B interface, and merchandising efforts are helped Advanced Auto Parts build a loyal digital following”
- “User-generated content campaigns creates brand loyalty and a community environment and can be an inexpensive way to create advertisements and viral marketing. Millennial men “place more trust in user-generated content.”
Factors that prompt brand switching
- DIY consumers are willing to change brands for a variety of novelty features. Millennial DIY consumers, in particular, are likely to be influenced by the latest trends and celebrity or influencers endorsement. Online influencers have become an integral part of the DIY sales cycle.
- “Buyers of auto parts believe they are more connected to their ethnic heritage than their parents,” and are likely to be influenced when they see celebrities and influencers that share this heritage (this could also work toward building loyalty).
- “More than half of online automotive consumers (56%) say price influences their decision to buy–consumers are price-sensitive because of vehicle age and related unwillingness to spend–taking precedence over brands and related loyalty programs.”
- Millennial men are heavily influenced by their peers. 70% are excited about their decision when their peers agree with them.
- A study on automotive parts and accessories websites in the US found that site speed is the most important factor affecting conversion rates.
- 63.6% of auto parts shoppers are willing to pay more for higher quality auto parts. “A high -quality website is a must in order to be competitive and drive repeat purchases and shopper loyalty. Investing in a high-quality website raises the likelihood of loyalty and return customers.”