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Size and Growth of Today's Automotive Parts Aftermarket

Posted by Ivy Decker on Nov 28, 2018
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Automotive DIYer using aftermarket parts in a vehicle repairSpoiler alert: we want you to know up front exactly what you came here for. According to Mintel's 2017 study on DIY Auto Maintenance, the auto parts and accessories industry is definitely expected to grow through 2021 and possibly beyond. In response, this is a critical time for automotive aftermarket brands and retailers to ramp up their efforts, invest in marketing strategy, and really get to know the DIYers behind the statistics.

But just how much growth can we expect? In this post, we'll reveal the size and growth of today's automotive parts aftermarket and discuss the DIYer impact that's causing its steady increase.

How Big Is the Automotive Aftermarket?

As of 2016, U.S. expenditures on automotive parts and accessories were to reach $42.6 billion, the Mintel study reports. According to the forecast data included in the study, this number is expected to increase through the end of this year, 2018, to over $45.4 billion. Generally, the industry is growing at an average rate 3.7% change year to year.

Automotive DIYer checking under the hood of a vehicleSeveral growth factors account for this steady increase in automotive product spending:

  • Increased DIY confidence due to access to information, resources, and aftermarket part availability
  • Increased average vehicle age and mileage
  • Growing Hispanic population that are more likely to perform DIY work
  • Overall economic confidence

The market breakdown in Mintel's study also reveals some insight into the spending habits and preferences of today's automotive DIYers. Overall, Autozone has captured over 50% of the automotive retail share, followed by general retailer Walmart at 38.5%. These huge contenders are followed by an "other" category (which may be comprised of local businesses or other retail stores), car dealerships, and other one-stop automotive retailers like Advance Auto Parts, O'Reilly's, and NAPA. Other smaller, often more specialized, retailers round out the market share.

DIYer Motivations Fuel the Aftermarket's Future Growth

Autmotive DIYer performing maintenance under a truckAccording to the study, we can expect a similar pattern of growth in the aftermarket through 2021, when expenditures are projected to reach over $51 billion in the United States. The same market factors should continue to motivate DIY work and spending over that time frame, and conceivably even farther into the future as well. Through this research, the trend has emerged: as DIYers become more confident and more prolific in their repair work, the industry should continue to grow.

For automotive aftermarket brands and retailers, these figures should be an indication that the DIY market is powerful and shouldn't be ignored. While there are car owners out there who believe that modern vehicles are too complicated to repair without a professional, even more DIYers are motivated by both financial reasons and a simple enjoyment and enthusiasm for automotive work. They're eager to learn from brands and from each other and to empower themselves to take ownership of their vehicle repairs and upgrades. We can also see more groups, like Hispanics and young women, contributing more to the DIY market in the United States at historical levels today. Armed with this information, smaller brands and retailers are presented with an opportunity to carve out a place in this growing market — all they have to do to get started is reach out and provide support these DIY audiences with information, expertise, and the right customer experience.

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Topics: Marketing to Makers, Automotive Enthusiasts

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