The market for replacement tires in the United States has been valued at almost $43 billion in recent years. The last major research into consumer buying behavior found that more than 40 percent of drivers had compared different tire prices online or searched for the right type of tire for their vehicle. However, only 4 percent had purchased tires and shipped them home.
Bringing together an entire digital marketplace for tire purchasing that also offers mobile fitting is clearly a need—and opportunity—to provide an end-to-end tire buying experience for consumers.
Michael Welch OBE founded Blackcircles.com, the world's 1st ‘click to fit’ online tyre retailer in 2002, managing to build a market-leading profitable business on less than $1m funding. Blackcircles 2002 first year sales reached $5,000, with 0.5% online conversion on a CAC of $40, in his final year sales reached $80,000,000 with 8% online conversion on a CAC of $5 & repeat customer levels at 30%. In 2015 Michael sold Blackcircles.com to Michelin Plc , the worlds largest tyre manufacturer.
Prior to Blackcircles.com, Michael started his first online tyre business in 1995 in Liverpool, England when he was 17 & subsequently sold that business to UK fast fit chain Kwik Fit where he was hired as the group’s first head of e-commerce in the lead up the Ford’s £1 billion acquisition in 1999. He subequently spent a few years between the UK and US assisting the Ford group with their ecommerce execution.
Michael is President and CEO of US online tyre retailer Tirebuyer.com, having merged his US start-up Tirescanner.com with Tirebuyer in 2021. He is also the founder and non-executive chairman of online fashion marketplace Atterley.com.