More than 50 percent of independent shop owners expect to increase product sales in 2014 while 40 percent expect to sell the same amount, according to the Aftermarket Business World independent shop survey. Only 4 percent of shop owners expect their sales to decrease in 2014.
Similar figures hold true for their outlook on gross margin expectations. Some 55 percent expect to increase their gross margins while 42 percent think they will hold steady with 2013, and 2 percent expect their margins to decrease.
Product sales increased in 2013 for 50 percent of the independent shops surveyed, while 46 percent maintained the same sales, the survey indicated. Only 4 percent said they sold less in 2013 than in 2012. Of those, 3 percent said sales were down 1 percent to 5 percent and 1 percent of respondents said sales decreased 6 percent to 10 percent.
Some 42 percent of independent shops surveyed said they prefer to purchase from retailers, 33 percent from warehouse distributors and 22 percent from jobbers, according to the survey.
Some 45 percent of independent shops said that quality is the number one need for their customers, while 18 percent said OE form, fit and function was most important, 16 percent said price, and 15 percent said availability.
A whopping 83 percent said that none of their product sales were made over the Internet. Some 9 percent said that 1 percent to 5 percent of their sales are made over the Internet.
Independent shops that use social media to promote product sales tend to favor Facebook for their medium.
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. Click here to see the survey.
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