U.S. Automotive Aftermarket Retail Sales Grow 2.5% in 2018 according to NPD reports
– The U.S. automotive aftermarket business grew its retail sales by 2.5 percent in 2018, according to The NPD Group. In addition to favorable weather initially in the year, this surge was fueled by the fundamentals of the industry being robust: more vehicles are on the road, the average age of vehicles is trending older, and the mainstream of consumers are unconcerned about higher gasoline prices.
The weather played significant role in the aftermarket’s performance in 2018, as frequent winter storms helped the industry grow 4% through November; however, a milder December softened the complete year trend. Observing into the product category types, the Maintenance & Repair and Chemicals, Additives, & Fluids category groups grew in 2018 while Accessories & Appearance products declined. Largely driven by the weather, wipers, washer fluid, and lighting were the best performing segments of the market. Accessory type categories were some of the worst carrying out, likely impacted by a sales shift from brick-and-mortar retail to e-commerce.
E-commerce remains to change the landscape of the aftermarket. Online dollar sales for the industry grew by over 30 percent in 2018, according to NPD’s Checkout E-commerce data. The data also shows that accessory sales, in particular, have been impacted by e-commerce. Almost seven million consumers purchased an exterior accessory online in 2018, and the type has seen its buyer count surge significantly during this time. E-commerce is also altering the aftermarket retail landscape through ‘buy online, pick up in store,’ as nearly 80 percent of the e-commerce dollar volume is picked up at a retail location rather than being delivered to a home.