Selling aircraft parts during COVID-19 crisis: tips on how to seize the deal

Ben Frank
Feb 24, 2021
min read
Data and Insights

The overall economic slow-down has made the competition in the aerospace parts and repair market fiercer than ever. If you want your business to succeed, you’ve got to be fast. Lightning-fast. Discover here why speed in responding to requests remains crucial for you to succeed in turbulent times.

The COVID-19 outbreak and the measures to contain it have acted as a massive restraint on the aviation industry, with the supply chain among its most affected segments. The travel restrictions imposed in many countries resulted in the grounding of thousands of commercial aircraft and the subsequent disruption of the aircraft maintenance and repair demands.

Due to the economic implications of the pandemic, the global aerospace market declined at a rate of -14% from 2019 to 2020 (from $342.4 billion to $296.1 billion), states the report published by The Business Research Company.    

Naturally, shifting demand for aircraft parts and repair capabilities has made the competition fiercer. So, the question is - how to stay ahead over dozens of other players competing for the attention of the same customers?

The early bird catches the worm

Remember, buyers in the aerospace aftermarket will be contacting multiple sellers at once on the lookout for the best prices to purchase parts or services. You've got to be agile in meeting their needs, and it starts with the right product at the right price in a flash. The faster you provide the information they need, the better the chances of getting the sale.

Whenever you receive an RFQ, you already have one foot in the door. If you want to win the business, you need to nail your response time. But it may seem impossible given the growing competitive pressure and outdated systems and processes your business relies on.

At any given moment, there can be dozens of incoming RFQs at once, spread across multiple marketplaces. The only way to keep up and provide a timely response is to add an extra hour to a day, you might say. Wrong. You have enough time in your day to get the job done before the first coffee break; all you need is the right tool.

Rotabull brings everything you need into a single inbox so you can effortlessly manage all RFQs and generate quotes that fill themselves out. More than speeding up your response time, we make sure you have all the information at your fingertips to follow up on your quotes, close deals faster, track your results and keep everyone in the loop. Instead of wasting time entering and looking for information, imagine how much more teams of any size could accomplish focusing on chasing deals from the office or on the go?

Last year, we analyzed a dataset of 100,000 quotes from Q4 2019 to provide you insight into how long it should take to get a quote. Check out the effects of time of day and priority on the response time below.

How long does it take to get a quote?

Average response time dips as low as two hours and holds steady through the early part of the US East Coast working day. Of all answered RFQs, about 1 in 3 are answered in the first hour. 83% are answered within a day. For many, this is good news, as they’re likely to receive a quote in as little as 5 minutes once they work through the morning backlog.

Average RFQ response time < 2 hours
1 in 3 RFQs are answered in 1 hour. 2 in 3 are answered within 8 hours.

On the other hand, if there’s no response within the first day, don’t lose hope. There’s still a chance of receiving a quote, leaving you in the 11% of those who get a response after two days. That said, you might consider sending a follow-up email after 24 hours.

10% of suppliers in North America send out quotes in < 5 minutes

When are most quotes sent?

If we look at the eight-hour period with the most quotes sent, we see that this is the standard working day for the east coast in North America. For those in the United States and Canada, quotes are buzzing and flying around throughout the day.

When are most RFQs sent?

Similarly, the eight-hour period with the most RFQs sent is in UTC-2. However, it’s safe to assume that most RFQs don’t originate in this time zone, as the only country residing in UTC-2 is South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (unless sea lions are sending thousands of RFQs).

Do higher priority RFQs get answered first?

Marking a request as “urgent” seems to have minimal impact on when you’ll get a response. Although requests marked as "Routine" have incrementally higher response time, there is no discernable trend as priority increases.

Labeling RFQs as "urgent" doesn't speed up response

One explanation for this is that suppliers have come to ignore these labels. Another explanation may be that buyers and suppliers tend to pick up the phone and talk offline for true AOG requirements, so those are not well represented in this sample.

There is no obvious connection between buyer-specified "priority" and response time. [1] In this graph, the category "High" includes priority labels like "Critical," "Expedited," "Work Stoppage," "High," and other labels indicating higher-than-normal urgency. [2] The category "Routine" includes priority labels like "Routine," "Normal," and several other similar labels.


Of course, this information is biased based on Rotabull’s network, which is weighted toward the Americas and Europe. Response times vary significantly based on buyer and seller time zone. However, based on this dataset, we can make some observations and suggestions:

  • Average response times in the middle of North America’s workday drop down to two hours on average (with some suppliers answering as quickly as 5 minutes after an RFQ arrives).
  • As a buyer, you may want to consider the seller’s location when sending an RFQ. Submit early in their standard workday so they have time to process the RFQ. Otherwise, you might have to wait until they head into the office the next morning.
  • As a seller, remember that accelerating your quote response time is crucial to winning the business. However, it’s equally important to maintain speed at every stage of your sales cycle. Book a demo and we will show you how!

Note: Originally published in January 2020, this post has been updated to analyze the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the aerospace parts and repair market.

Ben Frank
Feb 24, 2021