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US Automotive Aftermarket Poised For 2021 Rebound

Despite the global pandemic, the U.S. automotive aftermarket did better than expected in 2020, and the two major industry associations expect the sector to recover robustly in 2021.

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Total U.S. light-duty sales in the automotive aftermarket are forecasted to increase 11.2% in 2021, totaling $325 billion, according to the “2021 Joint Channel Forecast Model” produced by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) and the Auto Care Association.

The data was initially released in a joint, member-exclusive webinar led by Shane Norton of IHS Markit on June 7. 

An additional 5.3% growth is expected for 2022, and growth will average more than 4% in 2023 and 2024, bringing the light-duty aftermarket to $372 billion, according to the forecast. 

“The aftermarket has once again proved its toughness, and the pandemic affected the aftermarket less severely than other industries and even less than forecasted within our own industry,” said Paul McCarthy, president and COO of AASA. “The Joint Channel Forecast shows that the continued success and resilience of the aftermarket will only continue in upcoming years. Right now, aftermarket suppliers are dealing with the challenging impacts of a boom, including supply chain disruptions, yet the forecast shows continued strength for the aftermarket well into the future.” 

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“Increased reliance on personal transportation coupled with shifts in consumer purchase and maintenance behavior primes the aftermarket for continued growth,” added Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association. “The pace at which consumers return to normal mobility patterns will also dictate the future growth of our industry. Indicators suggest that consumers will continue to hold on to their older vehicles, which creates further opportunity for the aftermarket. COVID-19, while a challenge, was a catalyst for many of the tailwinds we’re experiencing today.”  

The market sizing and forecast are conducted on behalf of AASA and the Auto Care Association by IHS Markit, a leading business-intelligence firm. The forecast is based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Economic Census; IMR Inc.; and proprietary data, economic analysis and forecasting models from IHS Markit. 

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The Joint Channel Forecast Model is available at the AASA website, and in the Auto Care Association’s 2022 Auto Care Factbook at digital.autocare.org/2022factbook

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