Auto parts store losses & COVID-19: Lang Aftermarket iReport
“Two major types of Auto Parts Stores supply light-vehicle products to Professional Installers and DIYers: Jobbers and Retail Auto Parts Stores. While the total count of Auto Parts Stores has changed over the past 10 years, more dramatic shifts have occurred in the mix of Jobbers and Retail Auto Parts Stores.”
“The all-new 2022 Lang Aftermarket Annual, available shortly, provides complete analysis of the shifting populations of Jobbers and Retail Auto Parts Stores in the U.S., particularly the big changes caused by COVID-19 during 2020 and beyond.”
— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport
Changing Auto Parts Store Mix
The mix of Auto Parts Stores (Jobbers and Retail Auto Parts Stores) has changed substantially between 2010 and 2020.
There were approximately 17,400 Jobber stores nationwide at mid-year 2010, with their population slipping to just over 16,800 by 2019.
Retail Auto Parts Store Growth
While the Jobber store population has steadily declined, Retail Auto Parts Stores have increased in number. From nearly 18,325 locations in 2010, the Retail Auto Parts Store population exceeded 20,000 by 2018.
Retail Auto Parts Store growth continued during 2019, when their nationwide count topped 20,075.
More Retail Auto Parts Stores
Despite the decline in Jobber outlets between 2010 and 2019, the number of Auto Parts Stores nationwide (Jobbers and Retail Auto Parts Stores) expanded to nearly 36,900 by 2019, a gain of approximately 1,150 outlets over 2010.
Shifting Outlet Mix
There were nearly 900 more Retail Auto Parts Store outlets than Jobbers at mid-year 2010, with Jobbers representing 49% of all Auto Parts Stores in the U.S.
Over the next nine years (2010 to 2019), Jobbers suffered nearly a 3% outlet decline, while the number of Retail Auto Parts Stores steadily climbed by a total of 11%.
Different Rates of Outlet Change
The loss of nearly 600 Jobber stores between 2010 and 2019 amounted to an average annual 0.4% decline. At the same time, the nearly 1,800 outlet gain recorded by Retail Auto Parts Stores represented 1.0% average annual growth.
The Auto Parts Store population (Jobbers and Retail Auto Parts Stores) climbed at a 0.4% averaged annual pace with approximately 950 outlets added, as the surge in Retail Auto Parts Stores more than offset the Jobber decline over this nine-year span.
Impact of COVID-19
There was a dramatic shift during 2020 in the mix of Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) aftermarket volume. The DIFM market for cars and light trucks plunged at a double-digit rate. At the same time, the DIY market soared by more than 12%. See the 2022 Lang Aftermarket Annual, available shortly, for details.
As a result, Jobbers, which have a much higher percentage of their business generated by the DIFM market than Retail Auto Parts Stores do, suffered a greater reduction in their population than the small drop in the number of Retail Auto Parts Stores.
Although both Jobbers and Retail Auto Parts Stores declined in population during 2020, the Jobber store count loss was more than three times the outlet reduction suffered by Retail Auto Parts Stores.
More Auto Parts Stores
Lang Marketing projects that the population of Retail Auto Parts Stores will increase between 2020 and 2022, while the Jobber population will continue to fall.
Lang Marketing projects that Jobbers will slip to a 45% share of the total Auto Parts Store population by 2022, and Retail Auto Parts Stores will climb to 55% of the Auto Part Store mix, up from their 51% share during 2010.
Six Major Takeaways
- Two major types of Auto Parts Stores supply the car and light truck aftermarket: Jobbers and Retail Auto Parts Stores.
- The mix of Auto Parts Stores (Jobbers and Retail Auto Parts Stores) has changed dramatically since 2010.
- The Jobber population fell by approximately 600 between 2010 and 2019. At the same time, Retail Auto Parts Stores increased their number by more than 1,750.
- Despite the decline in Jobber outlets, the number of Auto Parts Stores nationwide (Jobbers and Retail Auto Parts Stores) increased by approximately 1,150 between 2010 and 2019.
- COVID-19 prompted the closing last year of over three times more Jobber stores than Retail Auto Parts Stores. This reflected differences in DIFM and DIY business volume and the impact on the respective performances of these two groups of Auto Parts Stores during a year when DIFM and DIY annual sales moved violently in opposite directions.
- Lang Marketing projects that Retail Auto Parts Stores will climb to 55% of the total Auto Parts Store population by 2022, with Jobbers falling to a 45% outlet share.
Copyright 2021 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.
NOTE: Special thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.