Lang Aftermarket iReport: More ‘products per mile’ ups aftermarket
“Car and light truck 2018 product sales increased at several times the annual pace of light vehicle mileage growth. This reflects the increase in car and light truck product use per mile traveled during the year.
“The escalating average age of vehicles in operation and the growing number of vehicles more than 12 years old combined to boost aftermarket product volume per light vehicle mile during 2018.”
– Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport
Aftermarket Growth Factors
Aftermarket product growth is largely determined by three major factors: vehicles in operation (VIO), the annual number of miles driven, and aftermarket product use per mile traveled.
VIO and Miles Driven
Historically, the total number of miles driven by all light vehicles on U.S. roads has increased as the number of vehicles in operation (VIO) has grown.
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Over the past 10 years, significant annual changes have occurred in the VIO, miles traveled by cars and light trucks, and aftermarket product use.
VIO Decline: 2008 to 2013
The number of cars and light trucks in operation declined between 2008 and 2013, as the total VIO fell more than one million, recording an average annual decline of 0.1%.
VIO & Mileage
Despite the light vehicle VIO decline between 2008 and 2013, total light vehicle mileage increased at an average 0.1% annual rate and annual miles per light vehicle averaged a 0.2% annual gain.
Changing Relationship Between VIO & Mileage
VIO and light vehicle mileage growth rates changed between 2013 and 2018.
Over this five-year period, the car and light truck population averaged 2.2% annual growth, a significant change from the 0.1% annual decline during the previous five years.
However, total light vehicle mileage recorded a lower average annual gain between 2013 and 2018, 1.5%, or approximately two-thirds the annual increase in VIO during this time.
Annual Miles Per Average Vehicle
Annual mileage of the average light vehicle in the U.S. climbed between 2008 and 2013 as annual mileage growth outpaced the yearly VIO gain.
The opposite has occurred over the past five years, as total mileage increased at a slower annual pace than the VIO (1.5% versus 2.2%). As a result, the annual miles traveled by the typical light vehicle in the U.S. fell at a 0.2% yearly rate.
Aftermarket Growth Impact
Light vehicle aftermarket product growth during 2008 through 2013 was the result of more miles traveled by the average light vehicle coupled with an increase in aftermarket product volume per vehicle mile.
The situation changed between 2013 and 2018. The average light vehicle was driven a declining number of miles per year, the result of VIO increasing at a faster pace than miles driven.
The robust 2.7% average annual increase in aftermarket product volume from 2013 through 2018 resulted from increases in the VIO and total light vehicle mileage as well as growth in aftermarket product volume per mile traveled.
Aftermarket Product Use Related to Mileage
There is not always a direct relationship between mileage growth and aftermarket product use, for several reasons.
First, older vehicles generally use more aftermarket products per mile traveled than newer cars and light trucks.
Second, Accessory volume is related to the number of newer vehicles on U.S. roads, especially light trucks.
Preliminary Results for 2018
While final results for 2018 will not be available for several months, it is clear that 2018 aftermarket product volume climbed at a much higher annual pace than total light vehicle mileage.
Also, VIO growth occurred at a faster pace than annual miles driven. As a result, there were fewer annual miles per vehicle. Nevertheless, aftermarket product use increased at a much faster pace during 2018 than mileage growth, reflecting an increase in aftermarket product volume per light vehicle mile.
Six Major Takeaways
Aftermarket light vehicle product sales increased at faster pace during 2018 than did the total number of light vehicle miles.
Over the past 10 years, the relationship has shifted between the growth of total light vehicle miles and the annual miles traveled by the average car and light truck.
Mileage by the average light vehicle in the U.S. climbed between 2008 and 2013, with the opposite occurring over the past five years (2013 to 2018).
Older vehicles generally use more aftermarket products per mile traveled than newer cars and light trucks.
Accessory volume is related to the number of new light vehicles on U.S. roads, especially new light trucks.
Despite fewer annual miles per vehicle, 2018 aftermarket product use climbed at a faster pace than total light vehicle mileage growth on U.S. roads, reflecting the increase in car and light truck product use per mile traveled during the year.
Copyright 2019 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.
NOTE: Special thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.