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Aftermarket Has Unprecedented Surge in Online Sales

The aftermarket is having a surge in online sales, with a sales spike the week of April 12-18, according to Hedges & Company data. This surge set all-time sales records and appears to be continuing into the week of April 19. This shows parts and accessories sales continue to grow online, accelerated by the coronavirus shutdown and stay-at-home orders across North America.

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The arrival of tax refunds and the Federal government’s stimulus payments are also helping drive online sales. Stimulus payments reached consumers last week and amounted to approximately $155 billion.

Hedges & Company, a digital marketing agency serving the automotive aftermarket, OEM parts and powersports industries, analyzed 7.7 million online user sessions and online purchases from parts and accessory websites in the U.S. and Canada. The analysis included retailer websites and manufacturers selling direct to consumer (DTC). In the analysis, the company gave online sales from the week of March 1 an index of 100, before wide-spread shutdowns were in place. The week of April 12-18 had an index of 140, or a 40% overall increase in online sales of parts and accessories from six weeks earlier.

Hedges & Company broke down the analysis into OEM replacement, truck and off-road, and performance racing. Here are the comparisons of the week of April 12-18 to the week of March 1-7:

  • Overall aftermarket eCommerce sales: Index of 140.3 vs. 100 the week of March 1-7.
  • OEM replacement parts sales: Index of 125.4 vs. 100, the first positive week after sales declines in earlier weeks.
  • Truck and off-road parts sales: Index of 157.2 vs. 100.
  • Performance/racing parts sales: Index of 148.9 vs. 100, showing surprisingly strong demand considering many motorsports events are cancelled.

Another factor contributing to the surge in online sales appears to be a migration of buyers from Amazon. The retail giant cut back on promotion and advertising for automotive parts and accessories to focus on products related to the coronavirus crisis, such as disinfecting wipes, sprays and other health items. This may have sent consumers searching for other buying opportunities and contributed to online sales growth.

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