Automotive parts market revs up

The automotive parts and accessories catalog market accelerated slightly in the fourth quarter of 2007, reaching a total 12-month active universe of 3 million names. That’s up from about 2.8 million names in the fourth quarter of 2006, and 2.9 million names in the fourth quarter of 2005, according to New York-based list brokerage services firm ParadyszMatera.

Although the major car parts outlets, including AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts and Pep Boys, have e-commerce sites, they do not make names available for rental and are therefore not represented. Statistics are drawn from 31 active in-category buyer files available for rental or exchange.

In the lead once again was J.C. Whitney, which had by far the largest 12-month house file among direct sellers of automotive merchandise, with 636,000 names. Trailing behind J.C. Whitney was J&P Cycles, which specializes in products for motorcycles, with 346,000 names; Quadratec Essentials for Jeep, with 192,000 names; AutoSport, with 136,000 names; and Stylin’ Trucks, with 132,000 names.

Helping to drive the increase in the total 12-month active universe was automotive accessory retailer A.J. Prindle & Co., which saw its house file grow 32.8% to reach 51,400 buyers in 2007. The company attributed the impressive fourth-quarter finish to increased prospecting.

Also shifting into high gear in 2007 was Griot’s Garage, which saw its house file grow 6.4% (up 6,200 names) to reach a total universe of 103,300.

The use of incentives in the automotive parts and accessories catalog market remained on cruise control in 2007. About 24% of promotions offered at least one incentive during 2007, matching 2006 usage, while roughly 14% of mailings offered free shipping, down slightly from 15% in 2006.

Free shipping continued to be the most popular incentive. For example, A.J. Prindle offers free shipping with all orders over $100; Bavarian Autosport with orders over $150; J&P Cycles with orders over $299.99; J.C. Whitney with orders over $75; and Speedgear with orders over $65. Aftermarket accessory merchant Pace Performance typically offers free shipping with any order.

Discount use slowed from 9% in 2006 to 8% in 2007. The category’s most active discounters included Performance Products (10% off affinity card orders), The Eastwood Co. (10% off any order), International Auto Parts (10% off any order), and Speedgear (various terms). J.C. Whitney continued to offer volume discounts.

In addition, the use of deferred payment offers ramped up by about 5% — driven primarily by new deferred payment offers from J&P Cycles and increased use of the incentive by J.C. Whitney.

House file universe: automotive catalogs
4Q 2005 1Q 2006 2Q 2006 3Q 2006 4Q 2006 1Q 2007 2Q 2007 3Q 2007 4Q 2007
Total universe 2.9 2.9 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.9 2.9 2.7 3.0
Automotive catalogs with the largest active-buyer files
Rank List name 4Q 2007 house file universe Average order
1 J.C. Whitney Buyers 635,934 $125
2 J&P Cycles 346,128 $135
3 Quadratec Essentials for Jeep Catalog Buyers 192,105 $143
4 AutoSport Catalog Buyers 135,618 $110
5 Stylin’ Trucks Catalog Buyers 131,717 $185
Source: ParadyszMatera

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