Selling tires online is a growing trend, with more online-only players making names for themselves each year. The relative newcomers compete against not only brick-and-mortar retailers, but also each other, and cannibalize sales from leading online tire companies like the Tire Rack Inc. and Discount Tire Direct.
Their growth, at least compared to buying consumer goods online like books, apparel and electronics, is limited because tires need to be installed, something that requires a trip to an established retail location. That changes the whole dynamic of wanting to purchase online.
However, that doesn’t mean the growth isn’t significant.
In 2016, 6% of the replacement consumer tires in the U.S. were sold online. That number rose to 7%, or 16.7 million tires, in 2017.
In order to understand what motivates people who buy tires online, Modern Tire Dealer surveyed two specific groups of consumers.
The first group was made up of people who had bought tires online; the second group — a much smaller sample size — was made up of people who had bought tires at physical retail locations.
With 79% of the respondents to MTD’s Online Sales Research Study of Consumers having purchased tires online in the last 18 months, we had the statistical validity to determine what drives their attitudes, behavior and expectations regarding online tire sales. — Bob Ulrich