Business Tools


Regardless of diameter, wheel sales via online auction were uniformly down in the second quarter. Some sizes showed more resilience than others, most notably those 20 inches and larger.

16- and 18-inch wheels fared worst in the second quarter, dropping 10 and 11% respectively, according to data from Terapeak, a developer of market-focused research software that monitors online sales and auctions. July results looked no more promising, with sales of 18-inch wheels continuing to fall 9% compared to June. Sixteen-inch wheels meanwhile fell 4%, yet remained the clear favorite of all sizes in terms of total sales. 

Rims 20 inches and larger however, remained nearly even quarter-to-quarter, down less than 0.1 percent. A significant jump in July - 9% - demonstrates that big wheels haven't yet fallen out of enthusiast favor, even with the fuel economy concerns that accompany big wheels.

17-inch wheels also showed a July increase, although an incremental amount at 0.5 percent. 19-inch wheels fared better, posting a 1.5% gain.

May proved to be the most precipitous month of Q2 for nearly all sizes, except 20-inch and larger, which instead dipped in June.

Do online sales tell us anything about how parts move across countertops from brick and mortar retailers? Maybe.

Patti Freeman Evans, a senior analyst who monitors the retail industry for JupiterResearch, explains that while online sales are only a fraction of actual retail transactions, the Internet is a key influencer in buying decisions.

"We see online retail plateauing at 10-15% of total retail down the road - about double the penetration that catalogs ever got," Evans says.

She notes that as online commerce sites continue to develop more sophisticated tools to make purchasing easier and safer, some consumers will shift more of their wallet online.

"But that growth will really be organic, not dramatic. We look to the Internet to remain a highly influential channel for retailers to affect customer purchasing regardless of what channel the actual transaction occurs in."

Terapeak's Motors P&A Research provides sellers with access to comprehensive research on the past year of online auction data and allows users to get in-depth research reports on the competition and themselves. More at