Online car parts salesNew research commissioned by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed British motorists are happier to shop for car parts online than they are for make-up and cosmetics – and the proportional purchase of automotive accessories and car parts even tops that of supermarket groceries. 

4.2 percent of Brits go online to shop for car parts, accessories and services. In contrast, just 2 percent of people go online for groceries, and the SMMT reckons this proves just how advanced and competitive the car aftermarket industry is in the UK (and how high-tech cars themselves are becoming). Indeed, it’s an industry worth £21.6 billion, which supports more jobs than the population of Coventry – almost 350,000.


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The news comes as doors open for the second annual Automechanika Birmingham aftermarket trade show at the NEC. This is currently a booming sector for the UK, one that contributes £12.5 billion to the economy, which the SMMT is determined to ensure grows further – it could be worth £28 billion and support 400,000 jobs by 2022, if the new car market continues to grow as it currently is.

It’s tyres, lubricants and filters that Brits are replacing most often, and these are key items behind the current £920 million online spend on car parts. That’s one of the fastest online adaptation rates in Europe, and this sales channel is also expected to significantly grow, to be worth £1.65 billion by 2022.

Demand is also fast-rising for high-tech gadgets such as telematics devices and tyre pressure monitoring systems, adds the SMMT – research shows growth of 30-40 percent for the former and 20-30 percent for the latter. 

British motorists still have some way to go to match the online sales of books and electronics, though: 17 percent of books and 12 percent of electronics are sold online, reveals research by Frost & Sullivan. Sales of clothing online, meanwhile, stood at 7 percent in May 2017, when the survey was undertaken.