Frost & Sullivan say tyres are by far the biggest segment amongst all automotive replacement parts sold online, and they estimate 20% of all tyres will be sold online by 2020.
“Rapid growth in online tyre retail is indicative of a shift in aftermarket consumer behaviour with respect to cost, availability and choice,” says Frost & Sullivan senior research analyst, Anuj Monga. “The online sale of tyres currently constitutes 7.8 percent of the total tyre aftermarket.
Growth in online tyre sales therefore challenges the current decline in sales, as witnessed by the broader tyre aftermarket, particularly through traditional retail channel.”
The impact of the global economic recession has been visible across all industries in Europe, with the automotive industry having been hit the hardest, a major reason for the slump in overall tyre sales.
Online tyre retail however, will constitute roughly about 20 percent of the total tyre replacement aftermarket revenues by 2020.
“France, Germany and Russia are the countries leading this growth with an online tyre retail penetration of 12 percent, 11 percent and 8 percent respectively while the UK, Italy and Spain are also expected to experience strong growth,” Monga added.
Online tyre retailers are matching service levels of traditional tyre retailers to facilitate this growth, which includes efficient tyre fitment and in most cases return of worn out tyres. While price discounts of tyres sold online is a major pull for customers, the possibility of choosing from a wide variety of make and models is also a key driver.
Another area where tyre eRetailers can possibly differentiate themselves are refurbished tyres. eGommerce, an Italian startup tyre eRetailer, is already exploring this avenue.
Other discounts and freebies also belong to the tried means of attracting customers to the online channel.