PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – Aging vehicle maintenance and repairs, and consumer preferences for premium and innovative products, were factors that fueled the automotive aftermarket industry’s 2.5 percent dollar growth in 2014 (52 weeks ending Jan. 3, 2015), according to global information company The NPD Group.
In the U.S., there are more vehicles aged 15 years and older on the roads today than there were five years ago, which runs parallel with the fact that consumers are more willing to spend more on premium, high-quality products that will keep their cars healthy and running in the long term.
“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, 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.”
According to The NPD Group’s Consumer Outlook Survey, nearly 60 percent of respondents drive a car that is eight years or older, and the majority of today’s older car owners plan to keep their vehicles for more than four years. While expected 2015 spending on vehicle purchases and repairs is lower than 2014, the sentiment for cutting back on car care is not as strong, NPD reports.
“Quality differentiation is especially important to consumers when it comes to automotive categories, and 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,” added Portalatin.