July 17, 2013, 10:07 AM

A do-it-yourself spirit pumps up online auto parts sales

AutoPartsWarehouse.com says radiators are a top seller.

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As cars get olders, consumers are turning to online retailers for replacement parts.

Big and bulky automotive parts may not seem likely to be top online sellers, but that is exactly the case for AutoPartsWarehouse.com.

The retailer, owned by U.S. Auto Parts Network, says radiators were its top-selling item in the first quarter of 2013 followed by shock absorber and strut assemblies, catalytic converters, brake pad and brake discs.

This is emblematic of greater consumer trends, says Shane Evangelist, CEO. “Consumers are more comfortable ordering parts online, their vehicles are getting older and more are either attempting to do some of their own repairs themselves or are taking parts they have purchased into the repair shop,” Evangelist says. The average age of vehicles on the road is 10.8 years, says automotive research firm R.L. Polk & Co.

Indeed many of the AutoPartsWarehouse.com best-selling items are ones that already have long life expectancies, such as 75,000 miles for radiators and 80,000 miles for catalytic converters.

Consumers also are shopping online to save money, he says. The average manufacturer suggested retail price for radiators is $420, but the average price at AutoPartsWarehouse.com is $112, a 73% difference.

U.S. Auto Parts Network is No. 89 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide with $304 million in 2012 e-commerce sales.

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