This dossier presents insights and statistics on automotive e-commerce in the United States. A first overview gives an introduction to the market, while the following chapter presents financials and key metrics of leading online car retailers based or operating in the United States. Further statistical data delves into online shopping of vehicles and car components, including the general perception of e-tailer brands.
Table of ContentsOverviewPlayersShopping behaviorOnline trafficBrands’ profile
Description: Books, music, and video was the e-commerce category with the highest share in total retail sales in the United States as of February 2021. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of all retail sales in the book, music, and video segment were generated online. The category with the second-highest percentage of retail sales in the U.S. was computer and consumer electronics, at 53 percent. At the other end of the spectrum, automobile and auto-parts, as well as food and beverage, had the lowest share of retail sales, below five percent.
Description: Automobile and auto parts was the e-commerce category with the highest expected year-over-year growth between 2021 and 2022. As of February 2022, car and auto parts retail e-commerce sales were forecast to increase over 30 percent compared to the previous year. Food and beverage was the second fastest growing segment, at around 21 percent. The average retail e-commerce growth across all categories would reach 14 percent.
Description: The U.S. online car dealer market was around 43.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. The market is expected to grow by around 4.7 percent year-on-year to reach some 45.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2022.
Description: Between the years 2019 and 2022, the car rental market in the United States saw significant growth, from 32.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 to 41.7 billion dollars in 2022. There was a notable decline in the car rental market size in 2020, coinciding with the introduction of pandemic regulations and travel restrictions in many states across the United States. However, the market size then increased dramatically in 2021 as many of these restrictions were lifted, and this growth continued into 2022.
Description: In 2020, the e-commerce value of motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and supplies sales amounted to 434.5 billion U.S. dollars. Overall, B2B e-commerce sales accounted for almost half of U.S. merchant wholesale trade sales in the segment.
Description: Carparts.com is the online shop with the highest eCommerce net sales that is selling products in the Car parts e-commerce market in the U.S., with a revenue of US$559 million in 2021 generated in the U.S., followed by advanceautoparts.com with US$401 million. Third place is taken by carid.com with US$353 million. Discounttire.com is the fourth biggest Car parts online store in the U.S. with US$216 million in 2021.
Description: By the end of 2022, the online retailer of used cars Carvana is expected to generate sales revenue for over 19 billion U.S. dollars in the United States. This represents a gigantic increase compared to 2016, when the company’s sales did not reach 400 million U.S. dollars.
Description: In the three months between March 1, 2021 and May 31, 2021, CarMax generated approximately 1.9 billion U.S. dollars in online sales revenue. The value of car purchase transactions fully completed online increased afterwards, peaking in the same period of the following year at 2.9 billion U.S. dollars.
Description: Between 2018 and 2021, annual e-commerce revenue of United States-based online car retailer Vroom grew from 301 million U.S. dollars in 2018 to 2.45 billion dollars in 2021. Most notable was the period between 2020 and 2021, which saw the company’s annual revenue grow by 167 percent.
Description: During the period from the 1st quarter of 2021 to the 2nd quarter of 2022, quarterly e-commerce sales by online vehicle retailer Vroom peaked in the 4th quarter of 2021 with 21243 units sold. Throughout 2021, unit sales grew consistently each quarter, before a small decline in the first quarter of 2022. In the second quarter of 2022, unit sales more than halved relative to the previous quarter, as the company “chose to reduce the number of units to focus on improving operational execution.”
Description: Cars.com is a U.S.- based automotive classifieds website which recorded a total revenue of nearly 623 million U.S. dollars in 2021.This represented a significant increase from the previous year, when the annual revenue did not go over 548 million U.S. dollars.
Description: Cars.com is a U.S.- based automotive classifieds website which recorded monthly average revenue per dealer of 2,299 for the three months ended June 30th, 2021. In the following year, and over the same time period, the site’s monthly average revenue per dealer raised ever so slightly to 2,326.
Description: TrueCar is an e-commerce site which provides new and used car buyers with pricing and information related to the car buying experience. In the third quarter of 2020, the company recorded revenue of 77.2 million U.S. dollars, the most of any quarter listed. Since then, quarterly revenue has been declining, reaching a low of 42.3 million U.S. dollars in the most recent quarter.
Description: TrueCar is an e-commerce site which provides new and used car buyers with pricing and information related to the car buying experience. Prior to the third quarter of 2021, the acquisition channel with the most units sold for the company was TrueCar.com. Since the third quarter of 2021, however, the acquisition channel with the most units sold has been Extended Affinity.
3. Shopping behavior
Description: In a survey conducted in the third quarter of 2022, nearly one in four respondents in the United States reported buying automotive spare parts or accessories online. In contrast, that figure stood at only 12 percent for Finnish respondents.
Description: According to a survey carried out in the United States in 2022, car owners tended to trust online retailers more than online marketplaces. When it came to purchasing a vehicle, 44 percent of respondents somewhat trusted online retailers of cars, while only 26 percent of them reported the same for online marketplaces.
Description: A survey carried out in the United States in 2022 showed that over nine in ten online shoppers found car parts original equipment manufacturer (OEM) online retailers through search engines, while physical channels were less relevant. Additionally, only three percent of respondents were referred by their car dealer, while about the same percentage were referred by friends or family.
Description: Consumers shop online to find more convenient products at lower prices. In the aftermarket of car parts produced by third party companies for original equipment manufacturers (OEM), consumers are driven by other aspects, too. A survey carried out in the United States in 2022 showed that 17 percent of shoppers opted for online channels because the needed product was simply not available in their area.
Description: According to a survey carried out in the U.S. in 2022, members of the Gen Z and millennial generations both purchase vehicle parts online 39 percent of the time. Unsurprisingly, online purchasing becomes less popular in older generations, with 27 percent of Gen X and only 17 percent of Baby Boomers buying their spare parts and vehicle accessories online.
Description: According to this survey of US consumers from the third quarter of 2022, males tend to purchase automotive parts and accessories online 36 percent of the time. This is significantly more often than females, who purchase these products online only 24 percent of the time.
Description: An annual survey of recent car buyers in the United States found that, between 2017 and 2021, third party websites such as CarGurus and Autotrader were consistently the most used category of websites for researching and purchasing cars. Car dealerships’ websites were also popular, though their usage saw a decline in 2020 which was not observed for third party websites.
4. Online traffic
Description: According to a survey, 61 percent of the traffic to automotive e-commerce websites comes from mobiles, with 37 percent coming from desktop devices, and two percent coming from tablets.
Description: In the United States, Cars.com was the most downloaded app in the cars shopping app segment in 2021. The app, which connects car buyers and sellers, was downloaded almost 3.1 million times that year. Carfax was ranked second, the resale app for used cars, was downloaded over 2.8 million times.
Description: A 2021 survey of consumers who have recently purchased or leased a vehicle found that new car buyers spend an average of 5 hours and 22 minutes on online automotive research and purchasing, down from the previous years. Moreover, this is significantly less than for used car buyers, who spend an average of 7 hours and 22 minutes researching and purchasing their cars.
Description: During the 3rd quarter of 2022, monthly traffic to the website carvana.com decreased from 32.3 million visits in July to 28.2 million visits in September. 96.8 percent of the traffic to this website comes from the United States, the country in which online used vehicle retailer Carvana is based.
Description: During the 3rd quarter of 2022, monthly traffic to the website carmax.com decreased from 30.8 million visits in July to 28.4 million visits in September. CarMax is a used vehicle retailer based in the United States, where 97.4% of the online traffic to the website originates.
Description: TrueCar is a marketplace and e-commerce site which provides new and used car buyers with pricing and information related to the car buying experience. In the second quarter of 2021, the company recorded 9.6 million average monthly unique visitors to its site, the most of any quarter listed. Since then, quarterly website traffic has been declining, reaching a low of 7.2 million unique visitors in the most recent quarter.
Description: Cars.com is a U.S.- based automotive classifieds website which recorded nearly 22 million average monthly unique visitors from the start of 2019 to June 30th, 2019. In the same period of 2022, average monthly unique visitors to the site raised to 26.8 million.
5. Brands’ profile
Description: How high is the brand awareness of TrueCar in the United States?
Description: How high is the brand awareness of Carvana in the United States?
Description: How high is the brand awareness of carmax in the United States?
Description: How high is the brand awareness of cars.com in the United States?
Description: How high is the brand awareness of vroom in the United States?
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