The Internet’s share of car audio & electronics is hard to peg, but a CEoutlook poll of suppliers, top buyers and analysts found they estimate the Internet’s sales share from 25 to 40 percent. Internet sales are also still growing, although the growth is said to be slowing.
By way of reference, for the entire consumer electronics market, Internet sales are at about 25 to 33 percent, according to industry reports. Consumer Electronics Association analyst Steve Koenig says that range is plausible.
Looking at individual retailers, Amazon’s 2012 car AV/electronics sales alone were $577 million in car audio and Crutchfield’s 12 volt sales were $100 million, according to the TWICE Top 25 Car Electronics Retailers listing published last June. We’ve heard estimates for Sonic Electronix’s sales in car audio from $40 to $60 million annually. These total to about $725 million in sales.
Of course, brick and mortar stores also sell car audio online so if we add sales at Bestbuy.com, Walmart.com, Cartoys.com and others, as well as sales at ebay.com, it is possible that the online sales are closer to $850 million or more, which would put them at about half the market.
For anyone trying to peg the market share more closely, here is some additional data:
During Black Friday week 2013, Internet sales accounted for 55 percent of retail sales in consumer electronics, according to comScore.
For much of last year Best Buy’s online sales accounted for 6 percent of revenue, although the store took steps over Christmas to increase that.
Franchise store chain Al & Ed’s Autosound, Van Nuys, CA said its online sales account for less than 5 percent of its revenue. Unfortunately, it claims, the only way to be successful on the web is to discount deeply, although there might be exceptions to that rule such as Crutchfield.
What is interesting is that retailers say there are other benefits to selling online beyond contributing to the bottom line.
16-store chain Custom Sounds, Austin, TX, just opened an Internet store on its web site in December. It says sales are under 1 percent of its revenues but its main purpose for online sales is to improve its search engine placement through Google.
“It allows Google’s crawlers to increase the importance of Custom Sounds, as part of the way their search engine operates. We do not anticipate more than 2 or 3 percent of sales ultimately to be performed online,” said President Mike Cofield.