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Buying car parts and accessories online

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014–March 2015 (n=15,913). Base: Australians 14+. NB: these are the 6 highest and 6 lowest rating statements of 29 automotive attitude statements measured.

As the popularity of online shopping continues to rise, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal that 40% of the Australian population — or 7.7 million people — make at least one purchase over the internet in an average four weeks, up from 5.3 million people in March 2011. Although categories like reading material, women’s clothing, travel and music account for the lion’s share of internet shoppers, smaller categories such as car parts and accessories are slowly building an online market.

As of March 2011, 219,000 Australians bought an automotive product over the internet in an average four weeks. By March 2015, this had grown to 306,000. Compared to the 891,000 online shoppers who buy eBooks in an average four weeks, or the 1,042,000 who buy women’s clothing, this may not sound like much. But when we consider that the mean amount spent is $182, it becomes apparent that the online auto accessories category is quite lucrative.

Whether someone is likely to buy these products online depends on how they feel about cars. Not surprisingly, Aussies who self-identify ‘as a bit of a car enthusiast’ top the list, being almost 200% more likely than the population average to buy auto parts online in an average four weeks.

Automotive attitudes most and least likely to purchase car parts/accessories online


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), April 2014–March 2015 (n=15,913). Base: Australians 14+. NB: these are the 6 highest and 6 lowest rating statements of 29 automotive attitude statements measured.

Similarly, people who ‘would like a car that handles like a racing car’ are 133% more likely than the average Aussie to buy auto accessories online; while those who are interested in buying a high-performance car, and/or who ‘prefer a car with lots of sex appeal’ also stand a higher chance than most of buying car goodies via the internet.

On the other hand, people who agree with the statement ‘I’m not interested in the mechanics of my car’ are 60% less likely than the average Aussie to purchase auto accessories online, while those who ‘regard my car simply as transport from A to B’ are 45% less likely.

Similarly, those who are focused on safety, reliability and warranties (agreeing with statements such as ‘Safety is my number one concern when choosing a vehicle’ and ‘I don’t care what a car looks like as long as it’s reliable’) are less likely to buy auto accessories online.

Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“It seems Australians can’t get enough of online shopping, with nearly 2.5 million more people making a purchase via the internet in an average four weeks than they were just a few years ago.

“While traditional favourites such as music, women’s shopping and reading matter still attract the big numbers, more specialised categories such as auto accessories are carving out their own niche. Not only are more Australians making purchases from this category, but their average spend is considerably higher than shoppers of some of the more popular categories.

“As our data indicates, the passion (or lack thereof) a person feels for their car (or cars in general) influences whether they will buy these products online. It also has some bearing on how much they spend when they do make a purchase. For example, people who prefer a car with lots of sex appeal tend to spend more on auto accessories than anyone else!

“Armed with this kind of detailed attitudinal information about their present and potential customers, online retailers of car accessories are better placed to tailor their marketing communications to resonate exactly the audience they wish to reach.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%