Regular visitors to our Tyresales website will be familiar with my predictions of immenent and dramatic change in the New Zealand tyre market and how we are anticipating an upsurge in online tyre sales similar to what has been witnessed in the United Kingdom.
In Britain, every tyre company is now selling its tyres online; sure some of them resisted the inevitable for as long as possible, but eventually had to surrender to reality and market their entire product range on the internet; either through third parties or via proxy’s. Online tyre retailing in the United Kingdom, and other countries too, has captured a large share of the tyre market and and the financial viability of any company refusing to sell online would be threatened.
In every instance I know of, British tyre companies, large and small, privately owned and multinational, all proclaimed that they would never market their tyres online and kept repeating that mantra until the day they started selling all their entire range of tyres online. Quite simply, they maintained exclusive supply to their retail networks as long as they perceived it was advantageous to them, but as stated on this site before, ” when internet tyre sales direct to the consumer attain critical mass, tyre companies will suddenly start chasing online sales like a rat down a drain pipe. “Sure some tyre companies have recently initiated some self serving campaigns attacking online tyre markets, both directly and through some easily lead poor souls, but you can be sure they can read the writing on the wall as well as anyone else. But just in case they can not, there is always head office in New York and Tokyo etc to help them!
Recently we were having a beer in the Occidental, Vulcan Lane Auckland; I have been a regular there since 1972, so its fair to say I know the place pretty well. On the night in question, I got introduced to a guy who as it transpired, works for a multinational tyre company in a senior role; he seemed to be aware of www.tyresales.co.nz or at least was highly aware of the online tyresales channel. Actually he was very good company and we had a very pleasant discussion over a couple of beers. (they are very large at the Occidental!) Both of us were very guarded in what we said, but the salient point elicited in this session was his acknowledgement of the revolution facing the Kiwi tyre market over the next 3 to 4 years. On the growth of online tyre sales, he said “you have seen nothing yet, the tyre markets going to totally change in the next 3 or 4 years and nothing is going to stop this process” and conceeded that his company and others will be selling their entire ranges online by then, one way or another. This guy had no intention of telling me any of his company’s secrets but presumably was not coy about the inevitability of online sales because it is so blindingly obvious.
But until the online tyre market attains critical mass, the big tyre companies will continue with the old “deny, deny, deny trick guaranteeing they will never sell online, but when they eventually start selling online, they will be spouting the old refrain “that was then, this is now”!