IMR Inc. releases latest insights on independent repair shops’ ecommerce parts purchasing behavior

In July of 2021, IMR Inc. interviewed 500 independent repair shops, nationally representative by location in the U.S., to understand their use of public ecommerce websites like Amazon, eBay, RockAuto, JC Whitney and others, for the purchasing of automotive parts. 

IMR Inc., the industry’s leading full-service automotive market research firm, has released its latest insights on independent repair shops’ ecommerce purchasing behavior.

In July of 2021, IMR Inc. interviewed 500 independent repair shops, nationally representative by location in the U.S., to understand their use of public ecommerce websites like Amazon, eBay, RockAuto, JC Whitney and others, for the purchasing of automotive parts. 

In 2019, 36.2% of independent repair shops indicated that they purchase parts from these public ecommerce websites, while in 2020, 74.7% indicated public ecommerce websites as a method of parts purchasing. As of July 2021, 50.2% of shops are using public ecommerce websites to purchase parts and 45% of shops reported that they are purchasing “a little less” or “a lot less” from public ecommerce websites, compared to last year.

By shop size, those with one to three bays report 13.8% of parts are purchased through public ecommerce websites, shops with four to seven bays reported 6.2% and shops with more than eight bays reported 4% of parts purchased this way.

Of shops with one to three bays, 42.1% reported “always” or “often” comparing prices from their regular suppliers to public ecommerce websites, while 10% of shops with four to seven bays “often” compare prices and 39.5% of shops with eight or more bays “sometimes” compare prices.

Overall, survey data showed that independent repair shops’ use of public ecommerce websites to purchase parts has declined from 2020, with the most cited reason for this decline being the resolution of major parts delays caused by COVID-19 (50.6% of responses). Shops also reported that public ecommerce website delivery takes too long (42.9%) and 43.2% said that their regular parts suppliers were less expensive than public ecommerce websites.

As of July 2021, independent repair shops reported purchasing a total of 6.9% of their parts through public ecommerce websites, while 93.1% of parts are purchased through traditional integrated/captive business-to-business applications/shop management systems, by phone, or supplied by the customer.

For more information on IMR Inc., visit automotiveresearch.com. To schedule a research-related interview with the IMR Inc. president, contact the company. The most recent Insights from IMR Inc. can be found here.


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