AAPEX 2012: Trends, Google and the election covered at AAIA Town Hall

Tim Rogers, Polk president, covered industry trends at the 2012 AAIA Town Hall.
<p>Tim Rogers, Polk president, covered industry trends at the 2012 AAIA Town Hall.</p>

Consumer automotive searches on Google are seasonal in nature, according to Danielle Russell, industry director of automotive at Google Inc.

Russell joined Tim Rogers, president of Polk, in covering car-related trends at the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association’s (AAIA) Town Hall at AAPEX, hosted by AAIA President Kathleen Schmatz. The Town Hall, sponsored by R.L. Polk & Co., took place at the Venetian Hotel.

Back for the third year at the event, Rogers’ presentation was titled “5 Trends in 5 Minutes” and outlined the following developments in the auto aftermarket:

1. Light vehicle sales are on the rise, and OEMs are getting more aggressive as consumers return to the showroom.

2. The vehicle population continues to age.

3. CUVs and mid-size cars are driving the recovery in new vehicle sales.

4. Globalization of platforms and model families is accelerating.

5. Technologically advanced vehicles offer increasing aftermarket opportunity.

Rogers was followed by Russell, who says that Google’s data reveals a seasonal nature with today’s online aftermarket shopper. The company sees a spike in battery and starter searches in December as consumers get their vehicles ready for winter.

Google also sees cross-shopping behavior, with combined parts searches rising in number. Transmission and oil searches are the biggest. Many consumers search for multiple parts in one session, and the most common searches are for oil, coolant, spark plugs, batteries, brakes, shocks and mufflers.

Google’s research also reveals that searches on mobile devices have increased 800% in the last three years. On Google’s video site YouTube, Russell says that automotive repair videos are increasing in popularity. She said currently there are 142,000 videos posted on YouTube about how to change a car’s oil. Russell says that auto repair shops can take action to improve their businesses by tracking the shop’s search trends at google.com/trends.

Later attendees heard a lively political debate between Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi, and Terry McAuliff, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The dialogue was moderated by Schmatz.

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