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NPD to Launch Automotive Retail Tracking Service

According to David Portalatin, NPD Group executive director of industry analysis, this new product serves as an expansion of the work previously done with its Aftermarket Industry Monitor, which NPD suspended publication of in January.

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HOUSTON – The NPD Group will be launching a new Retail Tracking Service later this summer, which will monitor sales of automotive products from 20 retailers across the mass and automotive specialty channels. The new NPD Retail Tracking Service will include a diverse range of leading retailers representing almost 25,000 stores and will deliver comprehensive coverage of do-it yourself consumer purchasing in 29 major categories, the firm said.

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"With the addition of other retailers beyond the automotive specialty channel, our enhanced Retail Tracking Service will provide our clients with greater visibility for understanding market dynamics, identifying growth opportunities and partnering in category management initiatives," said Dawn Zieren, president of NPD’s automotive business unit. "We look forward to offering point-of-sale information that most accurately reflects the marketplace and enables our clients to make better business decisions throughout their organizations."

According to David Portalatin, NPD Group executive director of industry analysis, this new product serves as an expansion of the work previously done with its Aftermarket Industry Monitor, which NPD suspended publication of in January.

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"We had been reporting auto parts channel point of sale information for 10 years up until January of this year," Portalatin said. "What this product represents is really an expansion of that coverage. So, in addition to the auto parts specialty channel, we are now adding a diverse range of mass and club retailers. The new service will in many cases cover as much as 80 percent of the retail market of the categories being reported and it’s going to cover 29 major automotive categories."

According to Portalatin, those 29 categories were determined in collaboration with the industry. "This is really a big part of the story here, as it was with the previous service. It really is an outgrowth of a collaborative industry effort to bring fact-based decision-making to retailer and vendor relations," he said.

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The category list will primarily include appearance and accessories, performance chemicals and other automotive fluids and several maintenance and repair categories, according to Portalatin.

"The difference before was we were covering the total auto parts store, which is really not the focus anymore," he added. "We are focusing on those large categories where we have a great breadth of coverage across 20 different retailers to paint a really clear picture of what the total market is for those categories. We’re not doing application parts. That’s really the main difference."

"With a challenging economy, cost-conscious consumer base and increasing competition, the need for timely point-of-sale information is greater today than it has ever been," said Kathleen Schmatz, president and CEO, Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association. "NPD’s new Retail Tracking Service is an excellent example of a collaboration that will benefit the entire automotive aftermarket industry by providing an accurate view of the marketplace and its consumers. "

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The service will be available later this summer, with a target launch date of late August.

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