The fake auto parts market

Market analysis and social survey results



is the estimated value of sales in fake auto parts and components in 2020



the car parts and components market in 2019


Fake automotive parts are an issue that confronts car giants and their customers across the world. The global market for counterfeit auto parts is estimated by experts to be at least $20 billion annually. Russia is not new to the issue either: the country's Federal Customs Authority frequently reports seizures of counterfeit auto parts and car owner forums are filled with tips on how to tell fake parts from genuine products, while the Internet is replete with videos of real and imitation parts put to the test.
import of auto parts and components shrank over 9 months of 2020
car parts manufacturing declined by August 2020
The exact share of fakes in the total auto part market varies greatly by sources. OECD analysts estimate that counterfeit spare parts for automobiles average 2.5% of the global car parts market1. At the same time, virtually no reliable data exists on the share of fakes in the Russian market. That is why BrandMonitor is launching a series of surveys to gauge the problem. We find that, at 2.4%, the share of counterfeit auto parts in Russia corresponds to the global average. This figure is disturbing because the genuine quality of car parts determines safety on the road, and ultimately the risk to human life and health.
The data was collected during an online survey.
Survey period:
Sample size:
Survey geography:
16–21 December, 2020
1,000 interviews
cities with a population of 100,000 or more people
The sample included men and women, ages 20 to 55, who own a car and make decisions about servicing of and repairs to their car. The questionnaire included a number of questions related to the respondents' behavioral practices involved in the selecting and buying of car parts, as well as their philosophy and values system, attitude to counterfeit car parts, and awareness of the issue. We also tried to elicit details about car parts purchased by the respondents over the last year and the circumstances of the purchase (the store where the purchase was made, the price of the car part and the consumer's assessment of its authenticity). An in-depth analysis of each purchased spare part allows for a more reliable insight into the products' authenticity as it focuses the respondents' attention on specific purchases rather than general judgements and assumptions. The size of the automotive replacement parts market in 2020 was calculated in correspondence to its size in 2019 adjusted by an 8% decline.
Fake car parts make up 2.4% of the total aftermarket in Russia, comparable to their average share in the global market. The sales of counterfeit car parts in 2020 amounted to at least З27 billion.

The biggest sales are generated by car service centers, which specialize in auto parts replacement. Car service shops sold 67% of the total amount of car parts sold (in the amount of at least З740 billion). 33% of car owners prefer to do their own shopping for parts. Consumers are increasingly drawn to online auto part shops, which offer better prices compared to the traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Online channels grew their share of total sales over 10 months of 2020 by at least 7pp to 26% (at least З90 billion).
of all
admitted that they would not be able to tell an original part from a knockoff
of all
said they had purchased fake auto parts at some point
Upon close inspection of each purchased car part, respondents identified only 2.4% of them as fakes. By contrast, when offering their estimation of the share of counterfeits in the Russian market, respondents tend to use bigger figures — up to 20 or 30 percent, in line with estimations of counterfeits in other product categories that pose less of a threat to consumers' life and health. The methodology used to assess the share of imitation car parts considers not only generalized consumer opinions but also the entirety of the circumstances of the purchase. 59% of car owners admitted that they would not or might not be able to tell an original or non-OEM car part from a knockoff. 23% of respondents reported having purchased fake auto parts at some point. We found no statistically relevant differences in the experiences of buying fakes between consumers residing in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, cities with a population of 1 million or more people, and dwellers of medium- and small-sized cities.
Channels used to buy auto parts,
% of auto parts purchased by car owners on their own
An independent
A chain-certified
A Russian
online store
An automotive
parts market
Not sure
Channels used to buy auto parts,
% of auto parts purchased by car owners on their own
An independent store
A chain-certified store
A Russian online store
An automotive parts market
Online marketplaces
Not sure
A third of replacements parts (33%) is purchased by car owners directly in various shops and markets, and online. The source
of the remaining two thirds of parts and components (67%) is car servicing shops where the part is subsequently replaced. The
following spare parts are much less likely to be purchased by car owners on their own: engine and cooling system components, fuel system components (carburetors, nozzles, hoses, etc.), suspension components (shock absorbers, springs, etc.), as well as car body protection parts (seals, wheel arch liners, etc.), all of which are normally purchased at a servicing center. The parts most frequently bought by car owners themselves are lighting components (light bulbs, lamps, etc.), windshield wiper blades, air and cabin filters, and spark plugs.

Car owners do over half (56%) of their shopping at independent and chain-certified auto part shops. It was the traditional brick-and-mortar points of sale (shops and automotive markets) that were hit the worst by the quarantine: consumers were forced to shop for spare parts online.
The share of replacement parts purchased online grew dramatically during the pandemic, when numerous traditional stores and specialized automotive markets had to close down: in early 2020, only 19% of car parts were purchased online, while by December of the same year, this channel accounted for at least 26% of purchased parts (boosting its share by 7pp over 10 months).

Online stores can offer consumers much more attractive prices: affordability has always been an important factor in shopping for car parts, and consumers' price sensitivity only grew during the financial crisis. The monetary value of the online car parts segment amounted to З90 billion.
Anna Ilyina