As shoppers increasingly purchase auto parts from third-party online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, retailers and eCommerce merchants specializing in the category are seeing sales declines.

In Q1 of this year, CarParts.com’s net sales dropped 5% year over year, and the company’s net loss of $6.5 million marked a significant drop from the $1.1 million net income in the same quarter last year.

Similarly, in its most recent earnings report in February, discussing Q4 2023 results, Advanced Auto Parts reported a decline in comparable stores sales.

These declines come as Amazon holds a significant — and apparently growing — share of car parts sales, according to supplementary research from the PYMNTS Intelligence report “Whole Paycheck Report: New Consumer Spend Data Finds Amazon Way Ahead of Walmart.”

The study, which estimated Amazon and Walmart’s market shares in various categories based on years of earnings reports in conjunction with national data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis, found that, as of Q4 2023, Amazon held a 12.1% share of consumer spending on car parts, up from 11.1% the year before. For the full year 2023, the company’s share amounted to 9.6%, significantly higher than its 7.1% share pre-pandemic in 2019.

Across retail industries, Amazon is making it harder and harder for specialty players to hold their own. Take music: Sam Ash recently announced it is closing all its stores, as consumers increasingly purchase hobby-related products via Amazon. Plus, in 2020, even as consumers were buying more musical instruments, Guitar Center went bankrupt.

Then there’s the craft supplies retail industry. Joann announced Thursday (April 25) its emergence from bankruptcy, keeping its stores open, now to operate as a privately-owned company. The company has been operating at a significant loss, as Amazon has been gaining share of consumers’ sporting goods, hobby, music and book retail spending.

Regarding the auto parts industry, Amazon is not the only eCommerce marketplace growing its presence in the category. eBay, too, has a growing car parts business.

“To date, we have enhanced eligible auto parts with approximately 5 billion pieces of incremental fitment data and we’ve continued to see a double-digit increase in conversion on these augmented listings,” eBay CEO Jamie Iannone told analysts on the company’s Q1 earnings call earlier this month. “Our full-funnel approach to marketing has increased awareness and consideration of eBay as a trusted place to shop for auto parts and accessories,”

Online marketplaces offer the convenience of browsing and purchasing auto parts from the comfort of one’s home. Customers can easily compare prices, read reviews, and find the exact parts they need without having to visit multiple physical stores. These platforms often have a vast selection of auto parts from various brands and sellers, giving customers a wide range of choices. This extensive inventory makes it more likely for customers to find the specific part they are looking for.

Additionally, online marketplaces frequently offer competitive pricing due to the high level of competition among sellers. Customers can often find better deals online compared to traditional brick-and-mortar stores or specialized eCommerce retailers.


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