Lang Aftermarket iReport: Specialty Repair dominates ‘Do-It-For-Me’ growth

“Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists are the two major types of automotive Specialty Repair outlets in the U.S. Together, they topped by one-third the overall growth rate of total Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) light vehicle products over the past five years and more than doubled the DIFM average annual product growth pace of all other Independent (non-Dealer) repair outlets.

“Specialty Repair outlets will continue to outpace total DIFM light vehicle product expansion over the next three years (2020 through 2022) and will generate more than 40% of the total car and light truck DIFM product increase.”

— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport

Specialty Repair Achieves Highest Growth

There are two groups of Specialty Repair outlets in the U.S. car and light truck aftermarket: Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists.

Repair Specialists provide a limited menu of vehicle repair, while Foreign Specialists focus on servicing foreign nameplates.

These two Specialty Repair outlet groups combined averaged a 4.1% annual increase in DIFM product sales over the past five years (2014 to 2019), far outpacing the annual growth of all other repair outlets.

Repair Specialists

Repair Specialists have continued to increase their share of light vehicle aftermarket DIFM product volume for more than 20 years.

Repair Specialists surpassed Vehicle Dealers in DIFM product volume during 2016 and have topped 3.5% average annual product growth over the past five years.

Since 2014, Repair Specialists have generated the largest sales gain of any group of Independent repair outlets.

Foreign Specialists

Although they rank only fourth in total car and light truck product volume, Foreign Specialists have recorded the strongest annual DIFM product growth rate over the past five years.

Foreign Specialists’ growth share of DIFM product sales was nearly twice their average DIFM product share from 2014 to 2019.

Growing Repair Capacity

As the total number of car and light truck service bays has declined across the U.S. in the past five years, the bay populations of Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists have continued to increase.

Repair Specialists expended their bay share from 19% to 20% between 2014 and 2019, while the bay share of Foreign Specialists increased from 7% to 8%.

Product Brand Impact

The growth of Specialty Repair outlets has important implications for the strength of aftermarket product brands across the Independent (non-Dealer) aftermarket.

Repair Specialists purchase a mix of product brands that is different from that of most other types of Independent repair outlets (particularly Service Stations & Garages).

Foreign Specialists have a much larger share of their product volume represented by OE, OE-Supplier and Foreign brands than do other types of Independent (non-Dealer) repair outlets.

Three Distribution Channels Benefit

The Integrated channel will supply many of the products installed by Repair Specialists in the next five years.

At the same time, the Import channel will gain volume from the DIFM expansion of Foreign Specialists.

The Traditional channel also will benefit from the growth of Foreign Specialists and Repair Specialists in the U.S. aftermarket.

Six Major Takeaways

  • Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists combined for 4.1% average annual DIFM product growth over the past five years (2014 to 2019).
  • Repair Specialists generated the largest dollar gain among Independent (non-Dealer) outlets in DIFM product sales since 2014, topping a 4.0% average annual increase.
  • Foreign Specialists (outlets focusing on the repair of foreign nameplates) achieved the highest annual product growth rate of any group of repair outlets between 2014 and 2019.
  • Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialist combined to increase from a 26% to a 28% bay share across the U.S. aftermarket over the past five years.
  • The growing product share and volume of Specialty Repair outlets (Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists) has importance consequences for the sales share of aftermarket product brands.
  • Distribution channel strength has also been affected, as three channels gained volume from the product expansion recorded by Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialist: the Integrated, Import and Traditional channels.

Copyright 2020 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.

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