The Numbers Game

The Numbers Game

The aftermarket is very much a numbers game. Knowing what the numbers mean is the first step in developing a winning strategy.

Numbers can say a lot. But as a wise teacher once told me, a number by itself only tells part of the story. A number’s true value can only be understood within the context of other numbers.

This brings me to our third annual Professional Automotive Repair Technician Survey (PARTS) Supplement, which you found polybagged with this month’s issue of Counterman. This supplement presents data compiled from a survey of thousands of repair shops around the country. The goal is to understand a repair shop’s buying and sourcing criteria, to get a better grasp of how technicians choose the sources they choose and why they choose the brands they install on their customers’ vehicles.

During the first two years of the study, (2000 and 2001), we presented only a single year’s worth of data. Now that we’ve been conducting this survey for three years, we are able to show this year’s results within a three-year historical context. I think you’ll find the trends very interesting and maybe even a little scary.

So what do these numbers tell us? It’s clear that traditional jobbers face an ever-increasing challenge to maintain and grow their service-dealer market share. In some specific product categories, traditional jobbers have lost as much as 21% market share!

Where is this business going? If you guessed to the retailers, you’re only partially correct. Clearly, OE dealers and direct WDs are also making advances into what was once the sacred ground of the traditional jobber. In fact, across 15 different product categories for which we’ve collected three years’ worth of data, retailers have had an average market share increase of 2.4%, while OE dealers and direct WDs have, when combined, gained some 5.2%.

While these numbers may seem insignificant, keep in mind that if these trends continue, retailers will be closing in on 20% of the service-dealer market by 2005. Direct WDs and OE dealers will each own about 15% market share.

Traditional jobbers still lead the way in the battle for independent service dealer business. But, their grip on the market is beginning to slip.

These trends have a damaging effect on the financial health of the independent jobber. In the past, a jobber might have enjoyed more than 85% of a service dealer’s business. Under this scenario, the jobber could measure his overall margin at that account and adjust his prices and services accordingly. Today, however, that same jobber may be getting only 60% of that account’s business while having to provide more services at an overall lower margin across less volume.

Sound fun? Well, buckle up, because it’s just starting. The traditional jobber won’t die out completely, nor will retailers control the lion’s share of the independent service dealer market any time soon. But, the battle doesn’t involve just these two entities. OE dealers and two-step WDs have made, and will continue to make, their presence felt.

Take a close look at the PARTS Supplement. Use these numbers to benchmark and guide your business. The numbers tell a story. Make yours one with a happy ending.

You May Also Like

What Will the ‘COVID-Era Consumer’ Do in 2022?

The beauty of the automotive aftermarket is that the economic conditions always seem to work in the industry’s favor.

Online Shopping

Remember the tariffs? Nathan Shipley does. Back in 2019, “that’s all we were talking about as an industry,” Shipley recalled, during his “Aftermarket Outlook 2022” presentation this past November at AAPEX.

Looking back at the “Distribution Preview” in the January 2019 issue of AMN/Counterman, aftermarket leaders consistently expressed concerns that former President Trump’s tariffs – and China’s retaliatory tariffs – could disrupt aftermarket supply chains, leading to higher prices and even production interruptions. Tariffs remained on their radar in January 2020, although it looked like the aftermarket was weathering the storm.

Right To Repair, Trade Associations And You

In the fight for Right to Repair legislation, aftermarket trade groups can’t do it alone.

Veterans Can Be Heroes Off the Battlefield Too

Veterans bring an incredible amount of value to the civilian workplace, in terms of nontechnical and technical skills.

Veterans and Vehicles
What’s Really Driving The Automotive Aftermarket’s Growth?

NPD’s Nathan Shipley looks at the many moving pieces contributing to the industry’s recent spike in demand.

aftermarket growth
Strength In Numbers

The automotive aftermarket is filled with great people. In fact, many say it’s our strong suit.

Teamwork automotive aftermarket

Other Posts

Never Stop Learning

With so much internet-based training content available, it’s never been easier to expand your knowledge base.

Continuing Education
Welcome To 2035 – What Things Might Look Like

The future is what we make it. We need to start addressing technology now so 2035 becomes a bright future.

Future of Transportation
Seems Like Everybody’s Talkin’ About Electric Vehicles

Not only are people talking about EVs, but according to the latest U.S. sales figures, they’re also buying them.

Tesla Electric Vehicle
Still Time To Nominate Someone For Counter Pro Of The Year

We’ll be accepting nominations through Aug. 1.