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Automotive Trends: Online Car Buying and Aftermarket Parts on the Rise

BY: Andrew Giorgi
Man buying car parts on his laptop at home

Owning a car and shopping for a new car both have their own sets of challenges. There are so many things to consider when making a car-related purchase, and making the right choice is incredibly important. Whether you are in the market for a new vehicle or need parts for a repair, the internet has significantly impacted how you can research and get the things you need.

People have done more online research and shopping for their automotive needs in recent years than ever before. With all kinds of resources popping up and a wider community of experts to get help from, there has never been a better time to be a car owner or shopper if you want to be informed. Knowing some of the most popular trends in online car buying and aftermarket part shopping can help you make the right decisions for you and your vehicle the next time you need to make a purchase.

Online Car Buying Trends

Before 2020, 4.2% of car purchases were made completely online with car dealers like Carmax and Carvana. That being said, over 83% of car buyers say they want the convenience of shopping for a car online, which means that internet vehicle sales are set to soar in the coming years. With the popularity of online car dealers and all of them rushing to make things easier with features like delivery and all-in-one trade-in services, more and more customers will be making their car purchases entirely through the internet in the near future.

Online car sales have been steadily trending upward in the last few years. The online car dealing market has had an average positive growth of 6.4% every year since 2017, which is more than the U.S. economy as a whole. With this kind of growth, it is no secret that physical dealerships are quickly becoming less popular. In contrast, the easy, low-pressure online buying process has only become more appealing to car buyers.

Why Consumers Research Online While Car Buying

Now more than ever, car buyers have access to resources that can help them find the perfect vehicle regardless of their needs. Over 90% of car purchasers do some form of research online before buying a vehicle, which allows them to know everything they can about a car before visiting a dealership. Narrowing down your search is a fantastic way to streamline the car-buying process and get behind the wheel of the right vehicle.

When it comes to buying used cars, online research has also become more important than ever. On average, a used car buyer will spend up to 19 hours total researching a used car purchase on third-party sites. This means that most of the decision-making process for a car purchase will be done at home instead of at the dealership. While in-person shopping is still important when it comes to test drives and getting a feel for a vehicle, buyers are figuring out which vehicles they want to try out online before they ever set foot on a car lot.

How the Auto Parts Market Has Grown Online

One of the other areas that have been greatly affected by the proliferation of online research and shopping is the auto parts market. Before the internet, finding aftermarket parts required access to catalogs and distributors that could be very difficult to get unless you were working with an auto shop. Now that you can find parts for just about any car online, getting the right components and making sure they are compatible with your vehicle has never been easier.

In 2021, the automotive parts market had a value of $723 billion, with $19 billion coming directly from the eCommerce parts industry. Ninety-four percent of people who are looking for things like brake pads, calipers, air filters, and fuel pumps for their vehicle will do online research before making a purchase, either through the manufacturer’s website for original equipment manufacturer parts, also known as OEM parts, or a third-party site, making auto parts eCommerce a massive industry that is only going to grow as time goes on.

The components that come with new cars, however, are of a higher quality now than they ever have been before. Aftermarket components are becoming less necessary than they may have been 10 or 20 years ago. With new technology and better design, you may not need to do as much shopping for auto parts as you used to, though it will always be necessary for people who want to customize their vehicles or upgrade their performance specs, and eCommerce will continue to be an excellent resource.

What Is the Best Place to Buy Aftermarket Auto Parts Online?

Woman using laptop computer to search for car parts online

Several auto parts distributors allow you to search for and buy from an auto parts store online. Doing the proper research before you decide on which components to buy is essential and will help prevent issues with your repairs. If you aren’t sure which parts you need or how to replace them, it is always best to go to a certified mechanic instead.

Some of the best places to buy auto parts online include:

  • NAPA – NAPA has been in business since 1925, and they have a variety of tools, replacement parts, and diagnostic equipment that can be purchased by anyone looking to make a repair. It should be noted that they only carry NAPA brand parts, which means that you will be restricted to aftermarket components when making a purchase.
  • RockAuto – RockAuto specializes in parts for traditional vehicles as well as unique and exotic automobiles. They work with many different suppliers, so you should be able to find the exact part you need no matter what kind of car you have.
  • – If you are looking for car body parts, allows you to buy parts for the exterior of your car exclusively. They have everything from bumpers to grilles and even offer upgrades for different vehicles if you want to customize your car.

How an Auto Protection Plan Can Protect Your Used Vehicle

While it has never been easier to shop for car parts and fix up a used vehicle, it can also present some pitfalls. Aftermarket parts may not be the right fit for your particular vehicle and could potentially cause damage if they aren’t exactly right. In some cases, if your car is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, you could end up voiding that warranty by putting aftermarket components on it. Because of this, a third-party extended warranty, more accurately called an auto protection plan or vehicle service contract, will almost always be your best bet for keeping your vehicle running.

An auto protection plan will help you get your vehicle fixed by a certified mechanic whenever repairs come up. The mechanic will be able to find the right parts and install them correctly every time. This eliminates any guesswork with the repairs and ensures that all the work is done properly and that the components used are of the highest quality. Even though it is now possible to do research and find parts for almost any car, finding the right ones and doing a professional installation is a little more tricky. A quality vehicle protection plan can help give you the confidence you need that your car is in good hands.

Get the Best Auto Service With Endurance

With so many resources available for car buying and auto parts research, it is an excellent time to be a driver and car owner. If you want the very best care for your vehicle, an auto protection plan from Endurance is an excellent option. With plans starting at just $79 per month, there is something for nearly every budget and every type of vehicle. Whether you want the most affordable Secure Plus plan or the Supreme for Highline plan, which covers high-end luxury vehicles, you can find something that will protect your car, even if it has a salvage title or is used for commercial purposes like rideshare or delivery.

No matter what kind of plan you get for your car, you get access to perks and benefits that will help keep you safe whenever you are on the road. These include 24/7 roadside assistance, towing and lockout services, trip-interruption coverage, and rental car reimbursements. Plus, for a small activation fee, you can also receive access to a FREE year’s worth of Endurance Elite Benefits, including extra perks and savings like key fob replacements, tire repairs or replacements, collision discounts, and even total loss protection.

To find out more about how Endurance can help you or request a free quote, call our award-winning customer service team at (800) 253-8203 or shop online today to find an auto protection plan. You can also find more automobile-related resources on the Endurance blog, including articles on topics ranging from extended warranty coverage comparisons to vehicle buying guides, DIY maintenance tips and tricks, Honda comparisons, and more.

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