The Internet now represents about 20 to 30 percent of the car electronics aftermarket as a ballpark estimate, said several industry members we polled last week.
The figure is higher than that of general consumer electronics sales, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which predicts the Internet will account for 13 percent of CE sales by Q4 this year, up from 12 percent a year earlier.
Industry members also note that sales may be higher on the Internet than are officially reported, as some products that are sold into retailers, are then moved “sideways” on the Internet.
A number of facts about Internet sales, some of which were highlighted during KnowledgeFest last week, bear repeating:
In Q2 of this year, Internet retail sales in the U.S. climbed 14 percent over the previous year to $37.5 billion. This compares to sales of $27.1 million in Q2 of 2007. Consumer electronics was the top performing category, according to comScore.
59 percent of people shopping online start on a search engine, and 90 percent of those are seeking out a low price, said John Haynes of Al & Ed’s during a seminar he led at KnowledgeFest.
Amazon does almost $8 billion in annual sales of consumer electronics, which has become a top category for the Internet seller, reported TWICE magazine.
As of March 2010, a CEA study found that 32 percent of consumers prefer to shop for in-vehicle technology online. And 32 percent polled prefer to shop at a car stereo specialist (compared to other outlets such as a general electronics store or mass merchant). The CEA estimated that by this year, those preferring to shop online will surpass those preferring to shop at an electronics specialist.
Amazon has the largest global audience of the shopping sites. Amazon received more than 282 million visitors in June. representing 20.4 percent of the global Internet population. The runner up is eBay with 16.2 percent of Internet visitors, says comScore.
Suppliers at KnowledgeFest encouraged specialist retailers to beef up their Internet presence with a web site that is updated frequently and delivers a one paragraph message on why your store is different from the guy down the street. Other suggestions: post YouTube videos of your installs, buy Google Adsense ads and advertise on Pandora, Sirius XM, Twitter or on other non-traditional media outlets.