IMR Inc. has released its latest findings regarding cell phone usage in bays at independent repair shops and it reveals heavy usage of cell phones by technicians to access a range of information.

Nearly 100 percent of automotive repair technicians say they own a cell phone with nearly half (46.4 percent) also owning a tablet or iPad. Of these devices, 57 percent will end up in the technician’s working bay as a part of their daily toolkit.

And IMR’s research shows that a staggering 87.4 percent of technicians are actively using their cell phones for work in the bay to access the following: technical information, technician manual sites, catalog information, parts manufacturer websites for technical or product information, ordering parts and watching training or instructional videos and content.

Overall, more cell phones are used in repair shops with one to three bays across all categories, while technicians in shops with eight or more bays use their cell phones less overall, but approximately twenty percent more for ordering parts, IMR says.

“Smartphones and tablets play such an important role in how so many industries are doing business,” said Bill Thompson, president, IMR Inc. “The automotive aftermarket is by no means immune to this trend. Technicians have more access than ever to the important information they need to provide excellent service, and it’s critical for parts manufacturers, distributors and shop owners to understand how reaching technicians is changing in this digital age.”

With parts ordering being a critical function of cell phone use in the bay, technicians ranked the overall visual quality of parts manufacturer’s websites as follows: 83.5 percent answered “good,” 13.7 percent answered “excellent,” 2.8 percent answered “fair,” and none ranked quality as “poor,” to show that technicians are satisfied with the way that parts manufacturer’s websites are rendering on mobile or handheld devices.

When using social media platforms, technicians are most active on Facebook and YouTube, followed by Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Snapchat and Pinterest are not popular amongst technicians, with four percent stating that they are not active on any social media platforms.

IMR Inc. conducts the aftermarket’s longest running monthly Repair Shop Tracking Study which provides insights into various trends such as shop demographics, parts and brand purchasing, supplier usage and preferences as well as attitudes on current industry topics.

For more information on IMR Inc., visit The most recent Insights from IMR Inc. can be found here.

Join your colleagues in the global automotive aftermarket. Get the Aftermarket Intel Briefing, edited by Mark Phillips, AAP.

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