The Jakarta Post
Auto parts companies are relying on online sales to offset declining revenue from brick and mortar stores as the industry continues to suffer from the effects of COVID-19.
PT Astra Otoparts, the auto parts manufacturing and distribution arm of conglomerate PT Astra International, saw the number of shoppers at its online store, Astra Otoshop, double from April to May.
The increase in online shopping has also contributed to a doubling of monthly revenue over the same period.
“We’ve aimed to prepare a digital platform that can enhance the comfort and ease of the features we provide so that consumers grow accustomed to Astra Otoshop,” Astra Otoparts director Yusak Kristian said in a virtual discussion on June 26.
Marketing consulting firm Markplus found in a survey of 105 respondents that nearly a quarter of consumers were buying auto parts online during the pandemic, compared to the 5 percent of consumers before the health crisis.
The auto industry has been hit hard by the pandemic and the related restrictions, which have affected customers’ mobility and spending. Domestic car sales fell by more than 95 percent year-on-year to only 3,551 units in May, a continuation of the downward trend seen since March, Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers Association (Gaikindo) data shows.
The auto aftermarket has seen an estimated 80 percent decline in total sales between April and May because of social restrictions. Consumers have required less auto maintenance and fewer parts, according to the Indonesian Automotive Aftermarket Association (Gatomi).
Mobility to workplaces was down 25 percent as of Monday compared to the average level between January and February, while mobility to residential places was up 13 percent over the same period, data from Google’s Community Mobility Report showed.
In addition to online services, Astra Otoparts is offering a home service where they send technicians to maintain vehicles.
“So there are two home services, car battery and oil replacement. After the pandemic, the significant [increase] will be oil replacement because people will do things at home, and we’ll be ready with home delivery,” Yusak said.
Lubricant producer PT Federal Karyatama, a subsidiary of American oil and gas company Exxon Mobil, saw its online sales double, according to the company’s president director, Patrick Adhiatmadja.
The increase came amid falling demand for lubricant, as car and motorbike plants halted operation in May because of social restrictions.
“Lubricant demand may start recovering at the end of the year both from other industries and the auto industry, particularly the aftermarket,” said Patrick.
As a result of the pandemic, the country’s lubricant sales are estimated to have fallen by between 30 and 50 percent from the first to the second quarter of this year, according to the Indonesian Lubricant Association (Aspelindo).
Like Astra Otoparts, Federal Karyatama is also providing home services for during the health crisis.
The tire industry has continued to struggle against pandemic headwinds and the disruption of international trade. The majority of national production was intended for export, according to the Indonesian Tire Companies Association (APBI).
While the nation’s tire companies have turned to the domestic market in response, including the auto aftermarket, the closure of workshops because of the government’s social restrictions has deflated the industry’s revenue.
“The tire industry is almost dead,” APBI chairman Azis Pane said.