Lang Aftermarket iReport: Jobber population slide

“The number of Jobber outlets in the U.S. fell by nearly 15% between 2000 and 2015. Since then, the annual pace of Jobber closings has slowed. However, Covid-19 will reverse this trend, with Jobber store closings spiking over the next few years.

“Despite their diminishing population, Jobbers remain a strong force in both the Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) markets.”

— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport

Fewer Jobber Stores

There were just over 17,050 Jobber stores in the U.S. at mid-year 2015, down nearly 350 from five years earlier and 2,600 fewer stores than in 2000.

Jobber Count Down 45% From Peak Count

The Jobber store population in the U.S. peaked at just over 31,100 outlets during 1981. This was the culmination of a 10,500 surge in the Jobber count nationwide during the previous 15 years.

During the 1980s, the Jobber store population fell by 6,500, with another 5,000 outlets shuttered over the next ten years.

The pace of Jobber store closings slowed after 2000, with their annual attrition averaging 1.0% between 2000 and 2015.

Last Four Years

The Jobber store population has continued to shrink, but at a slowing rate. During 2016 through mid-year 2019, approximately 240 Jobber outlets closed nationwide.

Regional Jobber Population

Jobber stores are not evenly distributed across the U.S.

At mid-year 2019, the East North Central states were home to the largest number of Jobber outlets, followed closely by the South Atlantic area. Over 50% of Jobber stores are concentrated in three contiguous regions. Last year, two-thirds of Jobber stores operated east of the Mississippi.

East Versus West

The rate of Jobber store closings differs by region of the country. Jobber store attrition has been greater in the four western regions of the country than in the eastern states.

Covid-19 Virus Will Increase Jobber Closings

The rate of Jobber store attrition will increase during 2020, as Covid-19 boosts the rate of Do-It-Yourself repair and the E-commerce share of aftermarket product volume.

Both of these conditions will have a negative impact on Jobber sales and create a spike in the rate of Jobber store closing during the next several years.

The impact of Corvid-19 on the Jobber population and many other aspects of the aftermarket, will be covered in the soon to be released Lang Marketing report, The Covid Aftermarket Impact to 2023.

Six Major Takeaways

  • At mid-year 2019, there were approximately 240 fewer Jobber stores than four years earlier. The 0.4% average annual rate of Jobber store loss during 2016 through 2019 was less than half the average yearly pace of Jobber store closings over the previous ten years.
  • Peaking at just over 31,000 stores during 1981, the Jobber population in the U.S. fell at a 2.5% annual rate during the 1980s, followed by the loss of nearly 5,000 Jobber stores in the 1990s. Since the beginning of the new millennium, the Jobber store count in the U.S. has fallen by more than 2,800.
  • Jobber stores are concentrated east of the Mississippi, with the East North Central states supporting the largest Jobber population, followed by the South Atlantic region. Over half of Jobber outlets are concentrated in three contiguous eastern regions.
  • At mid-year 2019, nearly two-thirds of Jobber stores were east of the Mississippi. The four western regions, where the rate of Jobber attrition has been highest, were home to only 34% of the nation’s Jobber outlets.
  • The pace of Jobber store closings will increase because of Covid-19. Lang Marketing expects the Jobber attrition rate to spike at least 50% higher during the next several years.
  • See the just-released 2021 Lang Aftermarket Annual for a complete analysis of the regional population of Jobber stores and the changing number of Jobber stores nationwide between 2009 and 2019.

Copyright 2020 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.

NOTESpecial thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.