UPS Survey Unveils Automotive Aftermarket Online Consumer Preferences

US 11/15/13

Atlanta, GA

New study suggests Techniques to Gain Competitive market Share

A new study, "UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper™ for Automotive Parts andamp; Accessories Buyers," highlights new findings about online consumers that can help aftermarket automotive suppliers compete more effectively.

Two primary findings were:

  • Although price is a major factor in the online purchasing process, automotive parts and accessories (AP&A) survey respondents said non-price features, such as the seller’s return policy, product selection and shipping options make up 60% of all comparison-shopping considerations. Additional considerations when comparison shopping online include shipping charges, how quickly the buyer can receive the product, consumer/peer reviews, number of shipping options, and the ability to pick up the shipment at a convenient retail delivery location convenient to them.
  • Online sellers who can best meet and manage their online customers’ expectations may have a more meaningful advantage over their competition, according to recent comScore research.

Additional survey findings include:

Channel Preference and Usage

  • 61% percent prefer to shop online while only 27% prefer to purchase in-store.  
  • 46% of online shopping occurs between the hours of 6:00-9:00 p.m. For sellers, this means that later order cut-off times could be a potential differentiator and a customer service advantage over the competition.
  • 39% of AP&A shoppers report spending $250 or more from their computer versus 11% on tablet devices and 9% through their smartphone. The growing adoption of mobile and tablet devices imply that sellers should closely monitor demand of this channel preference and adapt their sales channel strategy accordingly.
  • 1 in 10 buyers prefer to shop using a mobile device or tablet.

Shopper Satisfaction

  • Although 81% of AP&A shoppers surveyed were satisfied overall with the shopping experience, they are the least satisfied with the amount of control and flexibility they have when it comes to the delivery of their purchases. Shoppers are looking for more flexibility to choose delivery dates and times, ability to pick up their order at a convenient retail location, flexibility to re-route packages and environmentally “green” shipping options.
  • 53% of AP&A buyers said the availability of free or discounted shipping on automotive websites needs the most improvement. This was followed by 42% who would like ease of checkout improvements and 40% who were looking for more clear and easy understanding of the seller’s return policy. 
  • 48% said they abandoned their online shopping cart if the shipping cost was higher than they expected or if they discovered that their order wasn’t large enough to qualify for free shipping.


  • 75% reported that they have added additional items to their shopping carts to qualify for free shipping.
  • Online shoppers are willing to wait up to 7 days to receive their shipment in exchange for no additional fees.
  • 96% of respondents indicated the ability to track their shipment is important.


  • 59% reported being satisfied with the ease of making returns and exchanges, indicating there is room for improvement in this area.
  • 71% of online shoppers said they are more likely to purchase from a seller for the first time if that seller has a “hassle-free” returns policy.
  • Restocking fees were a deal breaker for most shoppers. Shoppers also said they are less likely to make a purchase if they have to pay a restocking fee, even if the actual return shipping is free. 

Survey Methodology: The data used for the study was extracted from the second annual UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Study™ - a survey of 3,000 online consumers.  The AP&A study on automotive aftermarket buyers was tabulated from nearly 200 respondents who shop online for automotive parts and accessories.

About UPS

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. UPS was awarded America’s Best Customer Service company for Shipping and Delivery services by Newsweek magazine; Forbes Most Valuable Brand in Transportation; and top rankings on the JUST 100 list for social responsibility, the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, and the Harris Poll Reputation Quotient, among other prestigious rankings and awards. The company can be found on the web at or and its corporate blog can be found at The company’s sustainability eNewsletter, UPS Horizons, can be found at To get UPS news direct, follow @UPS_News on Twitter.


For more information about this press release, contact:

UPS Public Relations