Around the Industry: Automotive Aftermarket Retail Sales Projected to Grow in 2015
According to global information company The NPD Group, aging vehicle maintenance and repairs and consumer preferences for premium and innovative products fueled the 2.5 percent dollar increase assumed by the automotive aftermarket in 2014.
Presently, the average age of vehicles on the road in the U.S. is 11 years. There are more vehicles 15 years or older on the roads today than there were five years ago. Consumers want to keep their cars on the road longer and are accomplishing just that by buying and using high-quality products. Continuing to educate and assist drivers in 2015 on how to take care of their vehicles will help cars stay on the road longer and, as a result, will help the automotive aftermarket industry.
“Determining how to introduce or market products that fall into these trends can help auto industry retailers grow their business in 2015,” said David Portalatin, automotive aftermarket industry analyst for The NPD Group. “Consumers are increasingly choosing to hold onto their cars or make used car purchases, investments leading to a more quality-oriented consumer when it comes to buying automotive products. For them, value is more than just price; value is, for example, products that increase gas mileage, improve engine performance, enhance their car’s appearance and are environmentally friendly. It’s important for retailers to understand such car maintenance and longevity boosting behaviors and act on them.”
Understanding the consumer and their needs and wants is imperative to success in nearly every industry. The automotive industry is no exception. According to The NPD Group’s Consumer Outlook Survey, almost 60 percent of those who responded drive a car that is at least eight years old. The survey also reported the majority of today’s older car owners plan on keeping their vehicle for more than four years.
While reports show consumers expect to spend less in 2015 on vehicle purchases and repairs than they did in 2014, they also show that they will continue to spend money on car care. This leads industry experts to conclude that 2015 will continue to positively mature — good news for the automotive aftermarket.
“Quality differentiation is especially important to consumers when it comes to automotive categories. This will continue to resonate with them and positively affect the retail industry this year. I expect to see retail sales on the plus side for year-end 2015,” Portalatin said.