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Not All Categories Are Created Equal: Auto Batteries

September 17, 2020
traqline Author 3 mins read
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All too often we focus on the big categories hitting the headlines right now like Appliances and Lumber. I want to give the smaller (but no less worthy of discussion) categories their own spotlight. In this ongoing series, I will create some discussion around smaller consumer durables categories that help drive the bottom line but don’t always make headlines. Remember: Not all categories are created equal but having the right data and insight can bring success to all categories.

This week, Auto Batteries sparked my interest (see what I did there?), likely because I needed a new one last month. As always, that got me thinking about who shops where, who has the greatest share, and what sets retailers apart. Let’s take a quick look at the overall Auto Batteries Market:

  • Auto Zone and Walmart have been in the lead over the past year.
  • Walmart experienced significant declines this last quarter versus a year ago, which gave first place to Auto Zone.
  • Advanced Auto and AAA picked up Walmart’s lost shares, gaining significantly in both unit and dollar share for Q2 2020.
  • AAA as a retailer? Whatever your thoughts, they have innovated how they reach their customers in need of a battery replacement with ‘two quick steps’.

The Auto Battery category’s online growth has nearly doubled from Q2 2019, though it is not as substantial as Total TVs or Appliances (which grew 10 and 12 points, respectively, in online unit share this year versus las year). Here’s a quick overview of who was seeing growth in online sales for Q2:

  • Battery Plus came in second, behind Amazon. The retailer over-indexed relative to the industry for both online shopping and for purchases made online.
  • Costco took third place and saw the greatest gains for online purchases.
  • Walmart and Sam’s Club were a close tie for fourth place.

 (source: TraQline Head-to-Head, L4Q Q2 2020).

Curious about what else gets consumers motivated to buy Auto Batteries from one retailer or another?

  • AAA over-indexed with consumers on “Good Repair Service” and “They stand behind the products they sell”.
  • Auto Zone buyers cite “Previous Experience with Retailer” and “Convenient Location”.
  • Costco, Sam’s Club and Walmart over-index on “Competitive Price” for Why Bought Store
  • Delivery Method lets different retailers really shine:
    • Auto Zone, Batteries Plus, Costco, Cam’s, and Walmart all over-index for “Pick up at the store or some other location”
    • AAA over-indexes for ‘Delivery’ (a real game changer in our opinion—they come to you AND install the battery)

Is there a category you would like more details on? Or do you need to surface some key insights before a line review? Contact us at so we can help!