Independent repair shops increase use of social media for marketing, study says

March 4, 2016
Independent repair shops are increasingly using social media to promote their services and to offer coupons and specials, according the Aftermarket Business World 2016 Independent Repair Shop Study. Shop participation in four popular social media sites increased this year compared to last year’s study.

Independent repair shops are increasingly using social media to promote their services and to offer coupons and specials, according to the Aftermarket Business World 2016 Independent Repair Shop Study. Shop participation in four popular social media sites increased this year compared to last year’s study.

Facebook was the most popular social media site used by shops, as 74 percent of those who said they use social media use Facebook to promote their business. This was up 1 percent from last year’s study.

The next most popular channel, Google+, increased from 26 percent of respondents last year to 47 percent this year. Shop usage of LinkedIn increased from 10 percent last year to 15 percent this year, while use of Twitter was up from 11 percent last year to 13 percent this year. Respondents were allowed to select more than one social media channel if they used multiple channels.

Some 45 percent of shops said their sales of select products increased in 2015 compared to the previous year, while 51 percent said sales stayed the same.

Optimism reigns as 52 percent of independent repair shops said they expect to sell more in 2016 compared to last year, while 47 percent expect to sell the same. Of those who expect to sell more, 25 percent said sales would increase 1 percent to 5 percent and 13 percent said would increase six percent to 10 percent.

When it comes to gross margins, 44 percent said their product margins improved in 2015 compared to 2014, and 54 percent said they stayed the same.

Some 47 percent said they expect their gross margins to improve this year, while 53 percent said they would hold steady.

Forty two percent of respondents said the top product need of their customers is quality, 21 percent said price, 14 percent said availability and 17 percent said OEM form, fit and function.

Regarding preferred suppliers, 37 percent of respondents said they prefer to buy from auto parts retailers, 35 percent from warehouse distributors and 19 percent from jobbers. Click here to see the entire study.

Methodology: The Independent Repair Shop Product Study was fielded to readers of Motor Age magazine via email. Survey results are intended to show general market trends, not statistical certainties, as results were garnered from a small sample audience. 

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